CHICAGO (AP) _ The Sydney Futures Exchange will become a full partner in Globex, an electronic trading system for futures and options being developed by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Reuters Holdings PLC, officials said Thursday.

The announcement came the same day that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the federal agency that regulates futures trading, gave the Merc and London-based Reuters permission to launch the automated trading system.

''Now that the CFTC has endorsed Globex and Sydney has become the first offshore exchange to agree to join us as a partner, we are truly on the way to our goal of an international system offering the widest possible product line for the world's financial risk management needs,'' Leo Melamed, chairman of the Merc's executive committee, said in a statement.

The computerized system is expected to become operational this fall, initially offering only certain financial futures products traded at the Chicago Merc.

It will function during the hours that its member exchanges are closed, offering their products for electronic trading only when they cannot be traded in the traditional fashion by traders standing in recessed arenas called pits.

The New York Mercantile Exchange, the leading market for crude oil and platinum futures, agreed Jan. 5 to join Globex. The Chicago Merc is pursuing similar agreements with other futures exchanges.

A future is a binding contract to buy or sell a designated amount of a commodity at a specified price by a given date. An option is the right to buy or sell a commodity for a specified price at some time in the future.

Futures and options players use the markets to either lock in prices for the physical commodities they buy and sell, or to gamble on price movements.

The Sydney Futures Exchange lists a variety of financial futures products, including the All Ordinaries stock-index futures contract, a 90-day Australian bank bill futures contract and the Australian 10-year Treasury bond.