CME Group announced on Friday that electronic trading hours for CBOT grains, oilseeds and ethanol futures contracts will be expanded in the morning by one hour and 15 minutes, until 7:15 a.m., beginning July 1.

The new electronic trading hours will run from 6 p.m. to 7:15 a.m. CDT time Sunday through Friday for futures and options on futures for full – and mini-size where offered –– corn, wheat, soybeans, soymeal, soyoil, rice, oats and ethanol contracts.

Daytime electronic and open outcry hours will remain from 9:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. weekdays.

The move is aimed at further boosting business on that platform. "This provides more trading hours to our European customers and is more convenient for them," says CME Group spokeswoman Mary Haffenberg.

"They're trying to capture more business. There are markets open that time of the day and they are meeting the competition," a trader told Reuters News Service.

Some traders say it was another step by the CME, the world's largest derivatives exchange, to eventually offer electronic trading 24 hours a day.

"The exchange thinks it will expand volume, and it might, but I don't think by a lot. But it's another step in their quest toward 24-hour trading," a trader told Reuters News Service.

A CME trading floor source told Reuters the reason the CME will stop trading at 7:15 a.m. is because of the monthly release of sensitive USDA crop information at 7:30 a.m. CDT.

"The hang-up is the 7:30 USDA reports. We don't want to be open then," the trade source said.

The Kansas City Board of Trade, which uses the CME Group's electronic trading platform, said it will expand overnight screen-based trading for its hard red winter wheat futures and options to the match the CME's hours. Its daytime hours also mirror the CME Group's session.

Editor’s note: Richard Brock, Corn & Soybean Digest's marketing editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.