NYBOT to offer electronic trading By Jennifer Hughes Published: January 25 2006 18:36 | Last updated: January 25 2006 18:36 The New York Board of Trade is planning to offer electronic trading for the first time, according to an agreement signed with the Chicago Board of Trade which will host NYBOTâs financial products on its electronic system. The move is the latest in the trend towards electronic trading among the biggest US exchanges and a first for NYBOT, best known for its heaving pits of coffee, sugar and cotton traders. Under the non-binding agreement announced yesterday, CBOT will host trading of NYBOTâs currency futures and options products and its index futures, including the widely followed Russell indices. Frederick Schoenhut, NYBOT chairman, said the deal would âprovide our financial products with the tools they need to ensure continued growthââ. While European exchanges have largely given up trading floors for all-electronic offerings, most of the biggest US exchanges are still hosting large open-outcry operations amid an ongoing debate over the future of floor trading. Earlier this week, CBOT said it was seeking a meeting with its members to approve rule changes that would allow it to electronically trade its agricultural products, which are still floor-based. CBOT and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange have led the way in developing electronic trading, driven by their cross-town rivalry and competition threats from Deutsche BÃ¶rseâs Eurex US platform. But the shift away from floors has made it potentially easier to poach or imitate a rivalâs flagship products. Earlier this week, CME shares reached new highs on reports it was planning to launch electronically-traded energy futures contracts, bringing it into competition with the New York Mercantile Exchange, in whom last month it was reportedly considering taking a stake. NYBOTâs currency futures compete with the CMEâs currency products, which have been in the vanguard of its push into electronic trading. Last year, Eurex US began offering its own currency products in direct competition to its US rivals. Industry observers say NYBOTâs deal with CBOT should only be considered a first step. âThis deal doesnât mean that CBOTâs platform is going to be the one that NYBOT is going to choose for its other products should it decide to take them electronic,â said John Lothian, president of the electronic trading division of Price Group, a Chicago broker.