The Philadelphia Stock Exchange, which originated trading in foreign currency options, next month will launch a new option geared to short-term currency hedging. The new trading product, known as a virtual currency or 3-D deutsche mark option, will be the first exchange-traded currency option to settle weekly in U.S. dollars.

It is intended to allow institutional and retail investors to participate in the currency market without incurring the expense and complications of establishing banking lines to buy or sell the underlying currency upon delivery.

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