PARIS, Jan 10 (Reuters) - The annual volume of milling wheat futures traded in Paris rose by more than 30 percent in 2012, making them the growth leader of NYSE Liffe's European commodity derivatives, the exchange operator said on Thursday.
A total of 7.47 million contracts of Paris milling wheat futures <0#BL2:> traded last year, up 31 percent from 5.69 million in 2011.
They contributed to an 11 percent rise in total futures volumes to 19.24 million for NYSE Euronext's commodities.
The milling wheat contract has attracted growing volumes in the past five years as weather-fuelled price swings in grain markets have encouraged more operators to hedge and invest in European futures.
"It took a few years for it (the milling wheat contract) to develop, and now we are in a situation where there is enough liquidity and it is finally large enough to attract not just the large physical players but the financial players as well," Nick Kennedy, head of business development, commodity derivatives, at NYSE Liffe, said in an interview.
"For example, more and more indices are now using our milling wheat contract as the benchmark, and this is having a tremendous effect on our volumes."
Average daily trading volume for milling wheat futures reached 29,077 contracts in 2012, up from 22,132 in 2011 and just 3,846 in 2007, NYSE Liffe data showed.
Among other commodity futures, white sugar <0#LSU:> posted a 24 percent increase in annual volumes to 1.85 million.
Annual volume in cocoa futures <0#LCC:>, NYSE Liffe's second-largest trading product behind milling wheat, fell slightly to 9.06 million from 9.08 million.
NYSE Liffe's parent company, NYSE Euronext, last month agreed to an $8.2 billion takeover by IntercontinentalExchange. (Reporting by Nigel Hunt and Gus Trompiz; editing by Jane Baird)