BRICS can't co-operate on enthusiasm

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 April, 2012, 12:00am

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The BRICS Exchanges Alliance finally launched its first cross-trading product last Friday, and as predicted in a previous column it was a modest debut.


The alliance - made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - was formed in October last year with the intention of allowing emerging markets' bourses to work together to encourage cross-trading of various products. For Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, it was a good chance to represent China in an international alliance, as well as develop new products.


The alliance on Friday introduced the cross-listing of benchmark index futures. In Hong Kong things were quiet after the launch, with only five trades made on India's Sensex Index futures and no trading futures of Brazil's Ibovespa, Russia's Micex Index or South Africa's FTSE/JSE Top 40.


HKEx has at least been diligent in promoting the product on its website with the turnover of each type of index future, and a description of the product.


But the HKEx lost out to India's Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) in the promotion stakes. The Indian market had a lot of information on its website to introduce each of the member exchanges of the BRICS alliance as well as a detailed description of each of the various markets' index futures.


Effort brought rewards, with India's market recording the most trades of the new alliance. It recorded 4,860 Hang Seng Index futures contracts traded. Since they were traded at a lower value than in Hong Kong, the value was only equivalent to about 220 HSI futures traded in Hong Kong.


India's BSE also saw trading of 21,750 Micex futures contracts, 2,220 FTSE/JSE Top 40 futures and 955 Ibovespa futures contracts.


Well done, India.


This shows promotion and investor education play a key role in promoting overseas products trading. Catch up, Hong Kong.


The other three exchanges in Brazil, Russia, and South Africa also appeared to be behind as White Collar could not find any information on their websites about trading of the new product.


But Brazil's stock exchange at least let us know it takes the alliance somewhat seriously. Although we could not find any trading information on the BRICS futures, the exchange's website had a press release saying it had hosted a ceremony to mark the start of trading in the benchmark equity index futures contracts. Invited to the traditional ringing of the opening bell was the head of the Brazilian Foreign Ministry's representative office in S?Paulo, as well as the consuls to Brazil from Russia, China, India and South Africa.


The websites of Russia's MICEX-RTS and South Africa's Johannesburg Stock Exchange did not mention the BRICS futures at all.


The five exchanges said they wanted to work together on cross-trading and develop new products to give investors of each exchange exposure to the emerging and increasingly important BRICS economies. Their first attempt at co-operation, however, has seen different levels of enthusiasm.