CHICAGO - Unfazed by the growing economic crisis south of the border, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange has filed to introduce new currency futures and options based on the Mexican peso.

The action, approved by the exchange's board of directors, comes in response to increasing investor demand for a product to manage risk in transactions and investments denominated in pesos.

A Mexican peso contract was one of the Merc's first futures contracts, opening on the exchange's International Monetary Market in 1972.

It traded actively until 1985, when Mexico's central bank imposed restrictions prohibiting the transfer of pesos for foreign currency on purely financial transactions.

The new contract would differ from the Merc's original in that it would have a cash settlement feature, rather than the physical delivery feature of all other Merc currency contracts.

The Merc also said it has introduced American-style weekly currency options that expire every week of the year.

The weekly options take the place of short-dated options and complement the Merc's existing quarterly and serial month options.

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