* Some 60-80 pct refined sugar exports containerised
* New contract deliverable to 20 ports in 17 countries
By Maha El Dahan
DUBAI, Feb 2 (Reuters) - The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) is targeting the end of the first quarter for the launch of a white sugar futures contract that will for the first time reflect containerised trade.
David Farrell, senior director of global soft commodity operations at ICE, reiterated at the Dubai Sugar Conference that the contract’s first maturity would be August 2016.
“We want to ensure it has liquidity and that people are confident in its ability to perform,” Farrell said.
ICE has said the planned physically delivered contract will trade alongside its existing physically delivered white sugar futures contract.
The existing ICE white sugar futures contract reflects so-called “breakbulk” business, carried on traditional bulker and cargo ships, that does not incorporate containerised trade.
European traders said the move was a logical response to the shift of physical white sugar trade to containerisation, but it remained to be seen how liquid it would be.
Industry estimates suggest between 60 and 80 percent of global physical refined sugar exports are containerised, Farrell said.
He said sugar would be deliverable to 20 ports in 17 countries under the planned contract, which compared with 94 ports in 43 countries for the existing contract.
“We needed to have a port list small enough to simplify the pricing in the contract,” he said.
“It is a starting point. We realise the 20 ports we have don’t cover the bulk of the market.” (Reporting by Maha El Dahan. Editing by David Brough and Alexander Smith)