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Minneapolis Grain Exchange Revises Launch Date For New Wheat Index Futures and Options Contracts - December 18, 2003

MINNEAPOLIS– The Minneapolis Grain Exchange announced today a revised launch date of February 13, 2004 for Soft Red Winter Wheat Index (SRI) and Spring Wheat Index (SWI) futures and options, pending approval by MGEX membership.  Contract rules and regulations will be sent to MGEX members for a re-vote as part of a settlement between MGEX and twenty-seven of its members.  The launch of SRI and SWI contracts was previously scheduled for December 19, 2003.

MGEX membership previously approved rules and regulations for the two new financially settled wheat contracts on December 2, 2003.  Subsequent to MGEX membership approval, a complaint was filed by twenty-seven MGEX members asking for an injunction to postpone the launch of the new contracts.  Plaintiffs claimed they were wrongfully denied access to a current MGEX membership directory prior to the vote on SRI and SWI contract rules and regulations, although MGEX sent, at its own expense, a letter drafted and furnished by the plaintiffs to a current list of authorized voters.

In a hearing held on December 17, 2003, MGEX and the plaintiffs agreed to settle the complaint with no further legal action.  As a part of the agreement, ballots containing rules and regulations for the SRI and SWI contracts will be reissued and sent to MGEX membership for approval.  Pending approval, SRI and SWI futures and options will begin trading February 13, 2004.

“We’re pleased we were able to reach an agreement with the plaintiffs,” said Kent Horsager, MGEX president and ceo.  “MGEX staff believed we had fulfilled the wishes of the plaintiffs by sending their letter to current MGEX members.”
Pending approval by MGEX membership, the two new contracts, SRI and SWI, will join the Hard Winter Wheat Index (HWI) in the exchange’s suite of electronically traded, financially settled, wheat futures and options.  MGEX will continue to trade hard red spring wheat futures and options contracts on the trading floor, as it has done since 1883.

The Soft Red Winter Wheat Index (SRI) is a simple average of approximately 360 country elevator bids for U.S. No. 2 soft red winter wheat collected daily by Data Transmission Network (DTN), an Omaha-based electronic commerce and information services company.  The Spring Wheat Index (SWI) is an average of approximately 210 country elevator bids for U.S. No. 1 hard red spring wheat.

Spreads between the wheat index contracts and their deliverable wheat futures counterparts traded on the Kansas City Board of Trade, Chicago Board of Trade and Minneapolis Grain Exchange offer commercial wheat buyers and sellers a way to manage basis risk.  MGEX will allow 100 percent margin credit for wheat index spreads executed on MGEXpress®, the exchange’s electronic trading platform.
National Corn Index (NCI) and National Soybean Index (NSI) futures and options are also listed on MGEXpress®.

Trading hours for MGEX wheat index futures and options will be as follows:
Morning session:  8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. (Central Time)
Afternoon session:  2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. (Central Time).
MGEX, established in 1881, is the only market for hard red spring wheat, Hard Winter Wheat Index (HWI), National Corn Index (NCI) and National Soybean Index (NSI) futures and options. www.mgex.com

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