Metal mania

China is the world’s fastest-growing consumer of base metals and its appetite for raw materials has resulted in a staggering growth in onshore listed derivatives. But its relevance to the institutional markets is still limited. Georgina Lee reports


It has taken the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) only a decade to become the world’s largest commodities exchange by number of contracts, or lots, traded last year. With 434.86 million contracts transacted in 2009 across just eight futures contracts, the SHFE bested previous incumbent the CME Group to become the largest commodities exchange last year, according to data collected from various sources.

The SHFE offers both ferrous and non-ferrous base metals futures, but its leap to become the

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