CME Group will launch a series of smaller foreign exchange contracts designed to appeal to retail investors, the futures exchange announced Wednesday.

The new contracts, to be known as Forex E-Micros, will be one-tenth the size of the corresponding CME FX contracts and they will be exclusively traded on the CME Globex. They are set to launch in the first quarter of 2009.

Contracts will be launched in six currency pairs, all involving U.S. dollars paired with: the Euro, pound sterling, Canadian dollar, Japanese yen, Swiss franc or the Australian dollar.

“Our new Forex E-micro futures contracts provide the opportunity for a broader universe of customers to mitigate their counterparty risk by trading FX in CME’s US$100 billion-a-day global FX liquidity pool,” said Derek Sammann, CME Group managing director, global head of FX Products.

“Active individual traders looking to participate in the global FX market, or small businesses seeking a cost-effective hedging tool for their FX risk, can choose Forex E-micro futures as a versatile and accessible new resource to manage their exposure. And they can do this with the full investor safeguards of operating in CME Group’s regulated environment while benefiting from the transparency and deep liquidity offered by our futures market,” he added.

These new contracts are listed with, and subject to, the rules and regulations of CME.