SYDNEY, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Interdealer broker Icap is withdrawing from direct trading in Australian agricultural and soft commodities with immediate effect, the head of the firm's unit in the country said on Thursday.
"Icap will be pulling out of its direct market activity across grain, wool, cotton and commodity futures offerings," Brad Howell, Icap Australia's chief executive officer, said in an emailed statement.
A source with knowledge of situation said the company had decided to focus on more profitable sectors.
Icap entered Australian agricultural commodities in 2012, hiring a team of brokers from then recently-bankrupt MF Global to match buyers and sellers among growers, trading houses and exporters.
MF Global had been a major trader of Australian Securities Exchange commodity contracts, but volumes have eased in recent months in several of the bourse's prominent agricultural futures.
Howell did not return calls asking for additional comment.
Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Joseph Radford