China launches trading in low-sulfur fuel futures
China began the trading of low-sulfur fuel futures on Monday, launching the country's fifth commodities futures open to both home and overseas investors.
The futures listed on the Shanghai International Energy Exchange are contracts to be delivered from January to June of 2021, with benchmark prices of 2,368 yuan (about 334.2 U.S. dollars) per tonne.
On Monday, the most active contract for January delivery opened higher and closed at 2,599 yuan per tonne, up 231 yuan from its benchmark price in daytime trading.
The total trading volume for six listed contracts on the exchange was 133,985 lots, with a turnover of about 3.5 billion yuan.
The launch of the futures will allow overseas investors to access the price signals, manage risks, and advance a steady operation of the sector.
As the global shipping industry has sped up to pursue eco-friendly and sustainable development, low-sulfur oil has become a domain fuel for maritime transport, according to Fang Xinghai, vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission.
"The launch of the low-sulfur fuel futures and its opening to international investors will better serve companies worldwide in accordance with industries' development," noted Fang.
China has opened more commodities futures to overseas investors and improved corresponding institutional systems and processes since the country launched crude oil futures in March 2018.
So far, 20 percent of the investors trading crude oil futures are from overseas.
According to Fang, China will speed up the opening up of its commodities futures market despite the global uncertainty brought on by COVID-19.
"China will better facilitate trading procedures for overseas traders, improve supporting policies on foreign exchange, extend overseas delivery services, deepen business exchange and cross-border cooperation between domestic and overseas exchanges, and effectively enhance the global pricing capability of China's futures market," he said.