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August 08, 2007

UNCTAD commodities exchange meeting slated for Geneva, September 3

Structural changes in commodity markets – in particular, liberalization and the substantial withdrawal of government support for the sector – initially drove the promotion by developing country governments of exchanges as an instrument of commodity-sector development. In recent years, a more ambitious approach has been taken. Largely driven by advances in information and communications technology, commodity exchanges are now moving beyond earlier constraints to become institutional catalysts for improving performance in the commodity sector and integrating supply chains.

A UNCTAD-organised meeting to be held on 3 September in Geneva, Switzerland will look at the trade and development aspects of these institutions as public and private efforts to establish African commodities exchanges pick up, as well as in the developing world in general. Under the heading "Trade and Development Implications of Commodity Exchanges," the discussions will serve to inform UNCTAD member States about the growing usefulness of commodity exchanges in liberalizing and globalizing commodity markets.

The discussions will provide a forum for appraising the extent to which a commodity exchange can trigger a wide range of potential benefits for developing countries’ commodity sectors by : creating markets and broadening access to them; building confidence among commodity-sector participants to enter into trading relationships; improving the price discovery process; facilitating risk management and access to finance; enhancing infrastructure; and upgrading the quality of production.

Experts will also examine the key challenges in promoting a robust but facilitative regulatory environment within which commodity exchange can operate effectively, as well as the role of commodity exchanges in stimulating the expansion of South–South commodity trade and regional economic integration.

To facilitate the discussion, the UNCTAD secretariat has prepared a background note entitled "The development role of commodity exchanges," which together with further details about the September meeting can be found at

Contacts: Ms. Leonela Santana-Boado ( or
Mr. Adam Gross (

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