Shanghai to open up trading of commodities futures

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 March, 2014, 1:25am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 March, 2014, 1:25am

The Shanghai Futures Exchange is vying for more influence in the global market with plans to open up trading of its long-awaited crude oil futures and a number of other commodities futures to foreign investors.

"China is a big importer of crude, and we rely 60 per cent on crude imports. However, our influence in the global pricing of crude oil has been low, and it doesn't match with our big consumption," exchange chairman Yang Maijun said in Beijing yesterday.

Yang said the exchange was actively pushing forward with crude oil futures that would be opened up to foreign investors, moving a step closer to the international market and setting a benchmark crude futures price for Asia.

Our [oil pricing influence] doesn’t match with our big consumption

Crude oil futures were the major product on the exchange's agenda, Yang said, without providing a timetable. "I hope I can tell you of the functioning of the crude futures trading at the same time next year," he said.

The Shanghai Futures Exchange was also looking at how to develop closer links with the price movements of commodities futures trading in the international markets, he said, adding that the exchange had launched night trading from 9pm to 2.30am.

"Night trading coincides with global trading in different time zones. We plan to include the crude futures trading in this session in the future," Yang said, noting that investors used London Brent and New York crude prices as references.

Futures trading in precious metals, rubber and non-ferrous metals such as copper, aluminium and zinc, could be opened up to foreign investors, he said. China's demand for such commodities was large and more influence on global pricing would be needed, he said.

The Shanghai Futures Exchange set up the International Energy Trading Centre in the city's pilot free-trade zone (FTZ) in November as a platform to operate energy futures trading, including crude oil futures.

"With more detailed rules on foreign exchange announced for the FTZ, it will be more convenient for overseas investors to participate in the futures trading," Yang said.

The exchange has yet to decide whether the crude contracts will be denominated in yuan or US dollars.