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Japan’s Osaka Exchange Looking to Expand Into Commodity Markets

Osaka Exchange Inc. Chief Executive Officer Hiromi Yamaji
Osaka Exchange Inc. Chief Executive Officer Hiromi Yamaji. Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg

Japan Exchange Group Inc., the country’s main bourse operator, is considering expanding into commodities and currencies.

“We have the ambition to expand our product base from securities into the other types of products including commodities,” Hiromi Yamaji, chief executive officer of Osaka Exchange Inc., a unit of Japan Exchange, said in an interview in London yesterday. Precious metals, rubber, oil, liquefied natural gas products and foreign-exchange futures and options are possible, he said.

Japan Exchange would be joining Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. and Singapore Exchange Ltd. in expanding into commodities in Asia, where most of the world’s copper, gold and energy is consumed. Imports of LNG in Japan, the world’s third-biggest economy, climbed to a record last year after the Fukushima accident curbed nuclear power demand.

“Especially in Asia, commodities trading is growing very rapidly,” Yamaji said.

Japan Exchange was formed last year from the merger of the Osaka and Tokyo bourses. Osaka Exchange will start trading JPX-Nikkei Index 400 futures by the end of November, Yamaji said.

The JPX-Nikkei 400, a measure with member companies selected for higher return-on-equity and profits, began in January. The gauge’s biggest members are SoftBank Corp., Fanuc Corp. and Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp. and it fell 4.9 percent this year.

Commodity contracts may start within two years of gaining regulatory approval, Yamaji said. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which regulate commodity and derivatives markets, would need to approve the new products, he said.

Osaka Exchange will decide on a system vendor for its new trading system in the next few months and wants to start the system “some time in 2016,” Yamaji said.

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