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Dubai has historically been an international hub for the physical trade of not only gold, but also many other commodities. However, until 2005, Dubai did not have an exchange where commodity players could hedge their exposure to commodity and currency prices. The establishment of a derivatives trading marketplace in Dubai was therefore a key logical step for enhancing the growth and development of the local economy. When launched in 2005, the Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange (DGCX) was the Middle East's first ever derivatives exchange.

The introduction of DGCX was a strategic move by Dubai not only to strengthen the commodities and forex market by providing hedging tools that help manage risk but also to diversify investment opportunities for regional investors. Over the last seven years, the Exchange has pioneered several futures and options contracts in the metals, energy and currency sectors that not only transformed the region's derivatives market but also provided exciting new opportunities for investors.

A Pioneer in the Region

DGCX has many firsts to its credit. The DGCX gold futures, when launched in 2005, introduced a new pricing benchmark for gold in the UAE - the One kilo bar gold futures contract which went on to attract considerable interest from gold traders not only in Dubai but also from Asian hubs like Singapore.

In 2007, DGCX launched the world's first Rupee futures contract, which became a remarkable success story driven by demand from the GCC's five million non-resident Indian community. Since being enhanced in 2008 to make it cash-settled, the product has notched consistent record volumes.

DGCX's other pioneering products include the world's first steel rebar futures contract; the region's first Copper Futures contract, and the region's first WTI and Brent Oil futures contracts. DGCX also has a healthy portfolio of currency futures contracts including Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Swiss Franc, Euro, British pound, Japanese Yen and Indian Rupee futures.

Gateway to Alternate Markets in the East

Dubai's location in a time zone midway between the Far East and Europe has traditionally made it an attractive hub for accessing the larger market surrounding it. The city's strategic geographic location has allowed DGCX to offer extended trading hours to global traders and integrate regional and international trading. In fact, DGCX is increasingly serving as a bridge between the time zones of the Far East and Europe, contributing to the smooth flow of the global trading cycle, especially during the gap between the closing of the Far East markets and the opening of European markets.

DGCX recently extended its trading hours by an hour and a half to provide market participants a 30 minute window before the opening of derivatives exchanges in South Asia, which allow them to take positions based on overnight indicators, putting them ahead of the momentum curve.

Growing regional and global profile

The Exchange's leadership in the MENA region is undisputed. To date, DGCX is the only Exchange in the region that possesses both trading and clearing infrastructures. The Exchange provides guaranteed settlement and reduced counterparty risk through the Dubai Commodities Clearing Corporation (DCCC), a 100% owned subsidiary of DGCX.

DGCX is seeking to attract new Members from diverse geographical locations and sectors. 80% of DGCX's current membership base is from the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent. The remainder is from the USA and Europe. DGCX Members hail from prominent financial centres such as London, Chicago, Mumbai, Singapore, Hong Kong and Karachi. They include global leaders in derivatives and commodities trading. New members continue to join the Exchange from around the world. Currently, DGCX has 267 members and is continually looking at new product development initiatives to attract an even greater diversity of members.

Product Innovation

DGCX product development strategy is centred on obtaining quality feedback from its member community and the market. Maintaining a feedback loop with the market allows DGCX to explore new innovative products.

This year, DGCX is gearing to introduce a series of new products as part of its portfolio expansion strategy. The Exchange is seeking to develop a strong offshore platform for the trading of a range of Emerging Market (EM) contracts. As part of this, it is looking to pioneer index futures in the region with MSCI India Index Futures and SENSEX Futures. The Exchange is also planning to list a spot gold contract and a plastic futures contract this year.

Volumes Record

Despite the current global economic climate and the infancy of the derivatives industry in the Middle East, DGCX has significantly expanded its volumes since inception. In 2012, DGCX registered a substantial growth of 137% from 2011 by trading 9,601,553 contracts. The upsurge in 2012 volumes - the Exchange's highest ever annual volumes since inception - was led by the substantial growth of Indian Rupee and Gold futures.

The Exchange's total traded contracts value has exceeded US$ 1 trillion since inception with 24.5 million contracts. 2012 volumes reached 9.6 million, already the highest annual volumes it has achieved since launch in 2005.

Awards and Recognitions

DGCX was recently ranked the world's second-fastest growing exchange by Futures & Options World (FOW), a leading global derivatives magazine. FOW also named DGCX's Indian Rupee Futures the prestigious 'Contract of the Year' in 2012.

In 2013, Global Banking & Finance Review named DGCX the world's 'Best Global Commodities Exchange' in July in recognition of its trade volume growth and product innovation.

New Technology Infrastructure

Following a strategic partnership with Cinnober, DGCX activated its new trading platform, the EOS Trader Platform in March 2013. The new technology platform is expected to be a significant catalyst for DGCX's growth. Greater efficiency and liquidity facilitated by the new platform will support the launch of new DGCX products.

The platform will give DGCX the ability to offer contracts in multiple currencies including UAE dirhams. The new platform will also allow DGCX to provide multi-currency settlement facilities and 24-hour market support. By virtue of an advanced collateral valuation facility, the new platform also gives Members the option of providing different kinds of collateral, in addition to cash and bank guarantees, including government bonds and Dubai Gold Receipts. The platform also facilitates new revenue opportunities by allowing DGCX to extend clearing house facilities to other exchanges and institutions.

The advanced technology platform will greatly support DGCX's vision to transform the region's derivatives market.

Promising Future

Over 2013 - 2014, DGCX is seeking to enhance its global reach by appealing to a wider customer base. The Exchange plans to launch a wide range of Emerging Market currency products targeted at niche customers in the Middle East. DGCX also seeks to reach out to a wider section of retail and proprietary or high-frequency traders. In the years ahead, the Exchange hopes to play an even more significant role in the development of the nascent derivatives market in the UAE as well as the wider region.

Benefits of Trading on DGCX

Guaranteed settlement and reduced counterparty risk provided by Dubai Commodities Clearing Corporation (DCCC), a subsidiary 100% owned by DGCX

The advantage of transacting and clearing business within the UAE and thus the local taxation and regulatory regimes

A simple fee structure - one fee for all participants. All participants also pay the same margin, whether commercial or non-commercial entities

An opening to both regional and international liquidity pools

Robust risk management and surveillance systems

Uninterrupted trading hours from 7:00am - 11:30pm (GMT +4)

Regulated by the Securities & Commodities Authority (SCA)

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