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ECONOMY | 08-07-2024 16:46

Argentina’s biggest foreign exchange, futures markets agree to merge

Mercado Abierto Electronico and Matba-Rofex have reportedly agreed to merge into a single exchange, creating Argentina’s largest futures and foreign-exchange market.

Argentina’s Mercado Abierto Electronico and Matba-Rofex have agreed to merge into a single exchange, creating the country’s largest futures and foreign-exchange market, according to one person with direct knowledge of the matter.

The companies expect to make the announcement after the market closes Monday, the person said, asking not to be named because the information isn’t public. The new exchange will include agricultural transactions, peso futures against dollars and trading on bonds, including local Treasury and Central Bank notes, they said. 

Argentina’s foreign exchange and fixed income market volume has plummeted since the country reintroduced capital controls in 2019. Markets have since recovered some of the volume by becoming the main space for sophisticated operations for domestic investors, known as the “blue-chip swap” or “dólar CCL,” which allows Argentines to obtain dollars outside the official exchange market.

MAE didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Monday, while Matba-Rofex declined to comment. A spokesperson for Argentina’s market regulator CNV said that it has not yet been informed of the merger and that, given the rumours, it will send the companies a request for information if they don’t contact regulators soon.

Argentina’s market is currently driven by four competing companies: Bolsas y Mercados Argentinos (BYMA), Mercado Abierto Electrónico, Matba-Rofex and Mercado Argentino de Valores (MAV). 

Matba Rofex is the largest futures trading platform, with US$227.6 billion in financial derivatives and 57 million tons of wheat, soybeans and corn in 2023. MAE is the largest foreign exchange platform with US$166.5 billion in negotiated volume last year.

The new exchange, which has yet to be named, could be valued at US$500 million and its ownership will be divided 50-50 by the companies, according to the person. 

BYMA is the largest fixed income and equities trading platform in the country, and had attempted to integrate with other players in early 2020, though plans didn’t progress. 

by Ignacio Olivera Doll, Bloomberg

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