Inflation fears grip futures

HANG Seng index futures slumped yesterday amid United States inflation fears and more rumours regarding the health of China's paramount leader Deng Xiaoping.

The October futures fell 220 points to 9,455.

November futures, on their first effective day of trading, closed at 9,465.

Overall volume was 13,808, with five contracts traded in November.

Open interest on Thursday showed 33,916 contracts in October and 11,315 in September, indicating quite a large proportion of the contracts in this month were left to expire.

Index options were heavily traded, with almost 5,000 lots changing hands.

In October calls, 9,600, 9,800 and 10,000 were traded, while in puts 9,200 to 9,600 was traded.

In November the picture was similar, although trading was modest.

Dealers do not expect a major recovery early next week with sentiment towards US equity values and China's political environment so fragile.

The reign of the 9,200 to 9,700 trading range appears to be in no danger of being toppled. Any breakout of this range is more likely to be on the downside.

Open interest in calls and puts in October were 3,899 and 6,196 respectively. In December they were 2,817 and 5,511 respectively and in March next year they were 1,373 and 520 respectively.