As has often been noted, the futures and
options industry is going through one of the most busy and
eventful periods in its history. So much so that the
traditional holiday lull in activity has all-but disappeared.
With festive cheer still ringing in the ears and festive
over-indulgence barely digested, it soon became apparent that
the period between 2003's last issue of FO Week and
the first of 2004 had been anything but quiet.
2003 kept up a good head of steam until the very end, with LCH
and Clearnet tying up their merger in the nick of time, and yet
more twists in the Eurex US saga playing out before the chimes
rang in 2004.
This year looks set to provide news in abundance from the word
go as well. January is a crucial month for Eurex, which needs
the all-important green light from CFTC if it is to make good
on its 1 February launch plan. Few doubt that Eurex US's
application will be turned down flat, but there is certainly
the possibility of delay: Eurex may live to regret the
ebullience of the publicity material that drew the Commission's
Even before we know for certain whether Eurex US will ever
trade a single contract, the move has stirred up the industry
and ushered in a new era of global competition between
exchanges, which promises to make 2004 and beyond very
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