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'Speed bump' coming to gold and silver futures on ICE exchange

Section: Daily Dispatches

First 'Speed Bump' Coming to U.S. Futures Market

By Alexander Osipovich
The Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, May 15, 2019

A futures exchange is set to blunt the advantages of ultrafast traders by imposing a split-second delay on some trades.

Intercontinental Exchange Inc., known as ICE, can launch the first "speed bump" in U.S. futures markets after the Commodity Futures Trading Commission didn't block the proposal.

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But two of the CFTC's five commissioners disagreed with the decision, saying ICE's speed bump would unfairly punish firms that focused on speedy trading strategies.

Some of the world's largest high-frequency trading firms had opposed the plan, under which ICE would introduce a three-millisecond pause before it executes certain trades in its Gold Daily and Silver Daily futures contracts.

Trading volumes in the two contracts are tiny, with most activity in gold and silver futures taking place at rival exchange CME Group Inc. But traders had been closely watching the CFTC's decision because of the potential precedent it could set.

Under CFTC rules, the agency had the ability to block the proposal within a 90-day period that ended Tuesday. It took no action, meaning ICE is free to introduce its speed bump. ...

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