France's MATIF exchange has become the world's first derivatives market to switch to electronic trading for all its interest-rate, commodity and gilt futures contracts.

MATIF's NSC-VF electronic system, which began operating alongside open outcry trading in April, has been developed to deal directly with the introduction of the euro and the need for lower trading margins and transaction costs in an increasingly international market.

As well as offering the user the possibility to trade a number of different electronic markets from one workstation, NSC-VF provides 'open architecture' trading, allowing customers to interface their own trade execution and proprietary systems.

Already, the complete coverage of the French Franc yield curve in interest rate contracts, including the PIBOR 3-month and MATIF 5-year contracts, set to change to the 3-month Euribor and Euro 5-year contracts respectively in September, is traded on NSC-VF.

Subsequently, automation now allows customers to see on-line the number and quantity of offers being made on stocks, as opposed to the bid and asking price solely available through open outcry.

Furthermore, new benchmark products can be delivered directly to users via the computer distribution network.

Pascal Samaran, chief executive officer at Matif says: The benefit of this technology is that we are now seeing a truly open market of all stocks and components, that can be delivered on-screen directly to our customers, thus reducing costs and truly opening up the market internationally.""