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Oil traders forced to use e-system

The International Petroleum Exchange will next month achieve its goal of conducting all trades electronically - but only after...

The International Petroleum Exchange will next month achieve its goal of conducting all trades electronically - but only after forcing traders to use its online trading system.

The ending of "open outcry" trading comes 18 months after the IPE launched its electronic trading system ICE. Most traders have failed to adopt the system voluntarily, with only 5% of trades in oil and gas futures contracts made electronically during its first year.

Last November, the exchange restricted the hours for open outcry trading but stopped short of forcing its members to trade electronically. But earlier this month the IPE told floor traders that from 7 April the market would go fully electronic. A rival exchange is now planning to open in London offering open outcry trading for oil traders.

The IPE, Europe's largest exchange for energy futures and options and one of the last open outcry pits in the City, handles more than £1.1bn of trades a day.

The IPE trading system was developed by the exchange's parent company Intercontinental Exchange. Advantages of the system include access to international markets, being able to automate the trading cycle and trading directly without a broker, according to the IPE.

The IPE trading system uses Java technology and integrates with Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.

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