FRANKFURT, March 20 (Reuters) - The European Energy Exchange (EEX) will start offering trading facilities for Dutch and Belgian power futures in the second quarter of 2013, widening its reach across continental European power markets.
The EEX, majority-owned by Deutsche Boerse's derivatives unit Eurex, has a strategic aim of diversifying outside its flagship power contracts, where its German prices are established benchmarks, into gas, coal and carbon.
It also wants to expand into more European regions.
A first step under the new plan will involve monthly, quarterly and annual contracts, for base and peakload products in the case of the Netherlands and baseload deliveries only for Belgium, Leipzig-based EEX said on Wednesday.
They will be physical products, which means supply is balanced against demand, as opposed to financial contracts which are set up as agreements between traders.
Baseload describes supply around the clock and peakload in business hours in the daytime.
Prices of French and German power, already traded by EEX and representing two-thirds of EU power demand, are moving in tandem and prices in related Benelux markets are also converging as regulators and businesses seek ever more cross-border trading.
EEX, which has more than 200 members, also said it had agreed to align by mid-year its trading schedules with those of international markets, which means opening on certain days that used to be closed due to German national bank holidays. (Reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by David Holmes)