Trading on the

Chicago Mercantile Exchange

(CME) - Get Report

remained brisk last month, with heavy volume in currency derivatives helping extend 2006's strong beginning.

Average daily volume shot up 26% from the same period a year ago, to an average of 4.7 million contracts, the same level as the prior month. The exchange's most widely traded product, interest rate contracts, increased 27% from the same period last year to 2.9 million contracts. The average daily volume for interest rate contracts increased slightly from last month.

One of the exchange's least-popular products, foreign exchange contracts, had the most dramatic increase during the month. Average daily volume increased 38% from the same period last year to an average of 368,000 contracts traded daily. Volume declined slightly from the month before.

Meanwhile, electronic trading gained momentum on the CME, with the average of electronically traded options contracts increasing fourfold, to 79,000, up from 19,000 in February 2005. Action on the CME Globex electronic trading platform represented 68% of total exchange trading.