Shanghai launches gold futures

The Shanghai Futures Exchange (SFE) will launch trading in gold futures on Wednesday, January 9. The contract size has been set at 1,000 grams, rather than 300g as earlier announced, chiefly to discourage speculation by individual investors.

The seven contracts – June, July, August, September, October, November and December 2008 – to be launched on Wednesday will all begin trading at a price of 209.99 renminbi a gram, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said.

The exchange will impose strict risk controls on trading and has set a minimum margin requirement of 7% of the contract value. It will allow the contracts to trade within a price range of plus or minus 5% of the previous settlement price each day. Spot gold hit a seven-week high of $843.20 an ounce before easing to trade at around $837 an ounce in London late on Monday, December 31. In all, gold climbed more than 30% in 2007.

Volatility in the price of the precious metal has increased in recent weeks, following reports of weak US economic data, and political concerns following the assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, traders said.

The Shanghai exchange also announced the approval of the licences of four new members, allowing them to carry out proprietary trading in gold futures. They are China National Gold Group, Shandong Gold Mining, Shandong Zhaojin Group and Zijin Mining, the nation’s largest gold suppliers and refiners.

The exchange already has more than 200 members trading aluminium, copper, natural rubber and fuel oil futures, as well as the zinc, rapeseed oil and polyethylene futures. The latter three products were launched in 2007. Trading in index futures based on the CSI 300 Index, made up of the 300 largest stocks listed on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges on the China Financial Futures Exchange, is still to get under way.

See also: Shanghai exchange to list gold futures
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