The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange said Sunday it would introduce futures contracts on Shahar government bonds in connection with the government's bond market reform. "The contracts will present an effective tool for institutional investors and the main market makers, which the Ministry of Finance has appointed," said Dror Shalit, senior vice president and head of trading and clearing department at the TASE. "The new financial tool will enable them [investors] to swiftly hedge or expose on fluctuations in the interest rate in the medium and long-term at a low fees." Beginning April 24, the exchange will offer two kinds of futures contracts: medium-term futures contract on three- to six-year Shahar bonds and long-term futures contracts on six- to 11-year Shahar bonds. The government bond market reform, which was approved in 2004, aims to lower the cost of government issues and enhance competition in the domestic bond market by facilitating the entrance of international financial market makers. In the long-term the reform seeks to attract the world's largest banks to be active in the domestic capital market and to market government bonds. The contracts will have a structure familiar to other similar financial tools offered on foreign stock markets in order to facilitate trading by foreign investors and international banks, that have been selected as the main marker makers of Shahar bonds. In connection with the launch of the new financial tool, the TASE will not charge fees for the first three months of trading in the Shahar contracts.