The Agricultural Futures Exchange of Thailand (Afet) is set to break even by 2014 and plans to increase local and foreign brokers, investors and new products.
Afet has operated since 2004 for trading farm goods including rubber, tapioca, rice and canned pineapple.
However, it still has an operating loss and trades only 300-400 contracts a day, well short of its target of 1,000.
Its most active product is rubber, while rice futures trading is inactive after the government's rice pledging scheme affected the market and pricing mechanism.
Afet has restructured its operation in a bid to increase trading volume and break even in the next two years.
It now has only six brokers, but four new ones will be ready to start trading early next year.
Afet president Chatri Sahavejjabhand said the four are Asia Plus Securities, Phillip Securities, Globlex Securities and KT Seamico Securities, all of which are members of the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET).
Its trading network will increase from eight branches to 77 nationwide next year, while the number of marketing staff will increase from 57 before to 500 by year-end and 1,000 next year.
Three brokers have started the process of joining Afet next year - a local broker, a Chinese firm and a joint venture between Thai, Singaporean and Japanese investors, Mr Chatri said.
The Chinese broker, which has already applied to become an Afet member, is a subsidiary of Tianjin Binhai New Area Agriculture Products Exchange Market Co, which focuses on trading rubber and tapioca.
As it seeks to expand its investor base, Afet projects to have 14,000 accounts early next year, then 40,000 in the following 12 months.
Afet will continue its promotions by providing investment seminars, training marketing staff and investors and joining the SET to produce an investment programme on the Money Channel.
It will continue to develop a real-time online trading platform, and the four new brokers will have to provide a real-time service to investors.
Afet plans to introduce several new products next year including soybean and corn, relaunch tapioca in the first half and launching cassava in the fourth quarter.
Mr Chatri said trading contracts of soybean and corn will be designed to be small in order to facilitate trading and help retail investors who want to practise trading.
Contracts will have a value of only 6,000 baht compared with 500,000 baht per contract for rubber.
About the author
- Writer: Nuntawun Polkuamdee
Position: Business Reporter