MUMBAI, India -- Multi Commodity Exchange Ltd. (MCX) has launched India's first steel futures contracts, offering contracts in ingots (IS 2830) and hot-rolled coils (IS 11513 grade D).

Steel futures had become essential as the markets had become more volatile, said Jamshed Irani, chairman of the Indian Steel Alliance and former managing director of Tata Iron & Steel Co. Ltd., noting that hot-rolled coil prices had swung to about $550 per tonne currently from around $160 to $200 per tonne two years ago.

"MCX will be the first-ever commodity exchange in the world to offer online steel futures trading: said Jignesh Shah, managing director of MCX. "This initiative will provide the steel industry participants immense hedging and investment opportunities, facilitating best price discovery, standardization, uniformity and highest quality norms, benefiting the entire industry."

The Tehran Metal Exchange (TME) in Iran started trading steel futures in December last year. The TME offers contracts for blooms and billets, beams, bars and rebar, slab, hot-and cold-rolled coil, profiles, pipe, angles and channels. It operates on an open-outcry basis with two rings.

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