Diapason starts commodity index tracking prices of non-GM crops

Nov 27 | Updated: Nov 28 2006, 05:30am hrs
Diapason Commodities Management SA, a fund manager with $5 billion in assets, started an index that tracks prices for non-genetically modified crops. The Diapason Commodity Agriculture Non-GMO Index was introduced on Monday and is published in the US dollars, the company, based in London and Lausanne, Switzerland, said in an e-mailed statement.

The index only includes commodities whose exports represent more than 0.1% of global world trade, Diapason said. The commodities must also have a combined market value and open interest that average more than $10 million.

Open interest is contracts that havent been closed, liquidated, or delivered.

More than half of the European Unions 450 million consumers consider genetically engineered foods to be dangerous, according to a June 2005 EU poll.

Diapason was set up three years ago by James Rogers, who co-founded the Quantum hedge fund with George Soros in 1970.

Five futures contracts currently qualify for Diapasons index: non-GMO soybeans, which are traded on the Tokyo Grain Exchange; and milling wheat, feed wheat, corn and rapeseed, which are listed on Euronext, Diapason said.

Funds that track commodity indexes expose investors to gains and declines in the prices of a selection of raw materials without owning the assets.

Futures are contracts for delivery of a security at a specified time in the future at an agreed price. In February, Diapason and UBS AG, Europes biggest bank by assets, introduced the worlds first biofuels index, which tracks prices for commodities used to produce ethanol and biodiesel. Diapason also started the Diapason Commodities Index in June. Bloomberg