CFTC Mulls Options Trade On PPLT, PALL

October 01, 2010

Options trading on platinum and palladium ETFs is on the table at the CFTC.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is considering a request to allow trading in options of ETF Securities’ physical platinum and palladium exchange-traded funds.

If the CFTC approves the request, it would mark the first time option trading is allowed for platinum and palladium ETFs. Precious metals ETFs such as the SPDR Gold Shares ETF (NYSEArca: GLD), the iShares COMEX Gold Trust (NYSEArca: IAU) and Silver Trust ETF (NYSEArca: SLV) already have permission to trade derivatives.

To begin trading options on its ETFS Physical Platinum Shares (NYSEArca: PPLT) and the ETFS Physical Palladium Shares (NYSEArca: PALL), ETF Securities and its clearing agent must first obtain “exemptive relief” under Rule 4(c) of the Commodity Exchange Act.

Both PPLT and PALL, as well as gold and silver ETFs, have been gathering assets at a steady pace at a time of heightened uncertainty in the global economy. PALL added $6.9 million in September, lifting assets to $436.4 million, according to data compiled by PPLT collected $40.7 million, bringing assets to $537.8 million.

Part of both platinum’s and palladium’s allure is that the white metals are crucial components in the catalytic converters used throughout the automotive industry, meaning they are both precious and useful. Platinum and palladium also play important roles in electronics manufacturing, dentistry and chemical manufacturing.

The request for exemptive relief was made by the Options Clearing Corporation (OCC), the world’s largest equity derivatives clearing organization.

The OCC acts as both the issuer and guarantor of options and futures contracts and is jointly owned by the American Stock Exchange, the Chicago Board Options Exchange, the International Securities Exchange, the Pacific Exchange and the Philadelphia Stock Exchange.

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