CHINA'S futures industry was surprised by a move yesterday to suspend one of the 15 commodity exchanges for repeatedly failing to stop trading violations in corn futures among members. Just when there was growing talk that the China Securities Regulatory Commission was no more than a paper tiger, it slapped a six-month trading ban on Changchun United Commodity Exchange in Jilin province. It is the first time the securities and futures watchdog has banned trading in an exchange in what is widely seen as a warning to other exchanges to behave, or else. In May, the commission banned trading in treasury bond futures indefinitely. Industry analysts welcomed the move to clean up the futures industry, which has been riddled with more than its fair share of scandals this year. Gu Jianxing, spokesman for the Shanghai Metal Exchange, said: 'It was quite sudden and drastic, but a welcome move to force any badly managed exchange to clean up its act.' Even the Changchun exchange was caught unawares. An official said prompt measures would be taken to put its house in order. The commission said a review of the exchange's cleaning-up process would be taken after six months to see whether it could reopen. Last week, when the commission warned all exchanges to take measures to limit the positions and raise margins of hotly traded commodities, some brokers shrugged it off as another in a long list of directives. A manager at Tianjin Securities said: 'The commission is clearly making an example of the Changchun exchange to show that it means business.' The exchange was taken to task for repeatedly failing to rein in members who flouted trading guidelines for corn futures between April and July in an attempt to rig prices. The commission was particularly unhappy with the exchange for not punishing Taonan National Grain Depository - its commodity settlement warehouse - for collaborating privately with some exchange members to issue false godown bills for corn. The false bills were for 80,000 tonnes of corn, significantly more than the physical supply. The culprits went on to use these bills as collateral for corn futures trading and for physical delivery. The commission accused the Changchun exchange of dereliction of duty by not verifying the bills, allowing false bills for 60,000 tonnes of corn to pass through. 'As a result, the market was flooded with false bills, leading to a disruption of business,' it said. The exchange was ordered to stop trading in futures going beyond March. Trading in bean futures could continue until trading expired. Dalian and Chengdu exchanges, which also trade corn futures, were not affected by the decision. Industry analysts said the commission acted to suspend Changchun because of pressure to perform from the State Council. 'There have been too many scandals this year and that does not reflect well on the commission's performance,' said a futures broker. In the past five weeks alone, there were three narrow misses. In late September, excessive build-up of positions in plywood futures on the Shanghai Commodity Exchange gave the commission a fright. A potential crisis was averted after preventive measures were swiftly taken. At the same time, another crisis was building up for green bean futures at the Beijing Commodity Exchange. Speculators had pushed the open positions to dangerously high levels. The danger was defused after position limits and forced offsetting were imposed. Two weeks ago, trading in long rice futures at the Guangdong United Exchange was checked after a few members were found guilty of violating position limits.