WASHINGTON (DTN)--The Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. posted record volume for 2001, making the CME the largest futures exchange in the United States for the first time, the exchange said on Jan. 3.

The exchange also posted its best December in its 103-year history, with volume rising 44.2% from December 2000 to 32.8 million contracts traded, reported .

Volume for the year totaled 411.7 million contracts, representing more than a 78% rise from the previous record year of 2000.

In 2001, the underlying value of transactions on CME reached a record $294 trillion, up 88% from the record $155 trillion set the prior year.

Trading in CME's interest rate products led the volume surge, with the exchange's Eurodollars contract the most actively traded futures contract in 2001, according to the exchange. Annual volume in Eurodollars futures totaled a record 184 million contracts in 2001, an increase of 70% over 2000.

Eurodollar futures and options also hit records for December in 2001, with volume reaching 13.2 million futures contracts and 7.6 million options contracts trading hands.

Volume on CME's GLOBEX electronic trading platform reached a record 81.9 million contracts, compared with 34.5 million the previous year. Electronic trading represented 20% of CME total volume in 2001, versus 15% in 2000.

Open interest on CME stood at 15,038,916 at the close of trading on Dec. 31, 2001. CME's open interest in 2001 reached record levels 90 times and totaled 18.9 million positions on Dec. 13.

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