THE Hong Kong Futures Exchange (HKFE) is considering the introduction of several new products, including foreign exchange, interest rate and index contracts, to tap the growing interest in the derivatives market. Foreign exchange trading is the mostly likely candidate in the near future. Trading would probably be done electronically because it would take place 20 hours a day. An exchange official said among key issues to be considered before the introduction of new products were the possibility of a major investment in an electronic trading system and the need for approval from the Securities and Futures Commission or the Executive Council. He said the exchange would have to consider how a new system would be integrated with other exchanges. Changes to the Commodities Trading Ordinance might be needed for new products. He said an interest rate product was an important and useful instrument for the public, and had become more viable with the development of Hong Kong's bond market. Earlier this week, futures and options trading of the Hang Seng Index enjoyed a record performance with combined turnover of $7.27 billion, nearly double the $3.72 billion worth of business done on the cash market. Trading of index option contracts last month hit 35,376 compared with 12,938 when they were introduced in March.