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The Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) trading volume increased overall by 23percent over the last year to 601,000 tones and trading value increased over all by 21 percent to reach 21 billion birr although performances vary significantly by commodity.

Trading volume of white pea beans grew by an astounding 52 percent and sesame trading volume grew by 38 percent, overtaking coffee which only increased by three percent. 

“Coffee trading did not follow the expected trend this fiscal year due to mainly the effect of a combination of extremely volatile international coffee prices ranging from more than USD three per pound at the start of the fiscal year to roughly to USD 1.50, and adverse weather, both of which delayed the start of the coffee trading season” stated Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin, the departing Chief Executive Officer.

The financial outlook for ECX also looks healthy as operational revenues increased by 34 percent over the last year to reach 226.4 million birr as well as growing net earnings of 31 percent. In addition, ECX also auctioned an additional 91 membership seats this year for the second time resulting in the value of ECX membership increasing dramatically from the founding member price of 50,000 birr in 2008 to an average purchase price of 1.35 million birr at the end of 2011. ECX now has 329 full and active members and 10,416 clients of which 40 percent are located outside Addis Ababa.

“We are excited that the number of cooperative societies and farmers, cooperative unions participating in ECX has recently doubled from 111 to 193, and their trade volume has increased by 48 percent over the last year,” stated Bemnet Aschenaki, Chief Strategy Officer of the commodity exchange.

The key challenges faced by ECX this year were higher costs and performance delays in warehousing operations during the peak period in some sites due to weak infrastructure and telecommunications and power failures, as well as staff performance issues and IT system glitches.

For the year ahead ECX plans to increase commodities and services, and four major new initiatives: preparing to outsource warehouse operations, the introduction of electronic trading, new direct access programs for farmers and cooperatives, and a new design project for the ECX corporate headquarters building which will be located around the area commonly called National Theater.