Message from the President & CEO

January 1, 2019

New Year’s Message

Japan’s economic growth continued into 2018, and while wavering at year-end, has surpassed the largest prior post-war economic boom of 1965 to 1970. Commodities recovered from 2017’s historically low volatility from factors including: U.S. dollar interest hikes and the consequent appreciation of the dollar; stock market weakness; the U.S.-China trade war and its implications for economic growth and; geo-political uncertainty in oil-producing states.

In 2018, TOCOM rolled-out a series of initiatives to expand our investor base and improve market access.  

Marketing at “TOCOM Square”, located at the Exchange’s headquarters, was a priority. TOCOM Square serves as a venue for seminars and as a virtual information station for commodities. Retail investors have access to the latest market information via blogs and mail magazines. TOCOM’s “Real Trade Contest,” launched in June 2017, was held multiple times with the cooperation of broker members. The contest is attracting an increasing number of entrants and demonstrates growing interest for commodity investments. Participants from China were invited to our most recent contest.

We also focused our marketing efforts on overseas proprietary traders, who make up a large part of TOCOM’s trade volume. And we continued working in China to attract new investors. These efforts have resulted in increased overseas trading, which now makes up majority of TOCOM’s customer trades.

TOCOM took a big step forward last year with its comprehensive market. We listed TSR (technically specified rubber) contracts in October in response to the needs of the market. Our rubber market is now more accessible and was greeted with enthusiasm from China, the world’s largest consumer, as well as Thailand and Indonesia, which are major producers.

Plans for 2019 includes continuing with public awareness programs as well as marketing at home and abroad. We will focus on three important initiatives:

First, we are planning to launch electricity futures at the behest of the government of Japan. This project is nearing fruition, with the understanding that it will support an important part of Japan’s industry and economy. 

Second, along with JPX, we will consider consolidating stock and commodity markets. We will consider whether consolidation will enhance market access and reliability and whether it would contribute to the expansion of the commodity market and industry. We will move forward if such needs can be met.

Third, we plan to support AI-based automated commodity trading, known as “robo-advisor” services. The technology will be available to FCMs and is expected to attract less-experienced investors. TOCOM will support FCM marketing efforts in this area.

I hope that 2019 is one of prosperity, brightness and hope for all of TOCOM’s participants and friends. And I hope it is a year of progress for the commodity derivatives market of Japan. On behalf of TOCOM, I appreciate your continued support and cooperation.

Takamichi Hamada
President & CEO
Tokyo Commodity Exchange, Inc