The Bahrain Financial Exchange (BFX), the first multi-asset exchange in the Middle East and North Africa region, has commenced trading on its conventional market segment.
The exchange offers trading in derivatives, equities, fixed income, exchange-traded funds and structured products in both conventional and Islamic finance sectors. In its initial phase, BFX will initially offer trading in three derivatives products comprising: natural gas futures, gold futures and euro/US dollar futures. These will be followed by products that cover more currencies, commodities and indices baskets.
The BFX conventional division is open from Monday to Friday. Trading starts at 08.30 and closes at 21.30 Bahrain time – to bridge the gap between the Tokyo and New York markets.
The launch of the conventional segment had originally been scheduled for March 2011, but progress was disrupted by political events, stemming from the Arab Spring.
BFX is part of exchange group Financial Technologies, which operates 10 exchanges in Africa, the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia. The launch follows on from the opening of the BFX’s Islamic division (Bait Al Bursa) in February 2011, which allows Shariah-compliant ‘Murabaha’ transactions, in which the seller discloses both the market value of the instrument and the margin to the buyer.
“The Kingdom of Bahrain being the oldest financial centre of the Gulf and a globally leading centre for Islamic finance is the ideal location for an international multi-asset exchange like the BFX, which offers products in both Islamic and conventional finance,” said Jognesh Shah, chairman and group CEO of Financial Technologies Group and chairman of the BFX.