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December 11, 2013

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Crude oil futures to trade as early as March in FTZ

Crude oil futures will start trading as early as March in Shanghai's pilot free trade zone as part of a financial reform that seeks to further open up China’s capital market, the zone’s administrative committee said yesterday.

The Shanghai International Energy Trade Center, which was launched last month, will be the platform for the long-awaited crude oil futures trading. With a registered capital of 5 billion yuan (US$820 million), the center is the largest financial company set up in the zone so far.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange is also planning to establish a trading platform in the zone for international investors, said Dai Haibo, deputy director of the zone’s administrative committee, without giving details.

Speculation had been bubbling that the Shanghai exchange would set up a long-anticipated international board for the listing of foreign companies in the zone, but Xiao Gang, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said that China’s capital market is still not ripe for the board.

"The focus of financial reforms in the zone is to support the area’s real economy, with potential risks being controlled," said Dai.

China's central bank last week unveiled 30 measures in a financial reform package for the zone, covering the management of free trade accounts, facilitating cross-border investment and transactions, expanding yuan cross-border use, liberalizing interest rates, and simplifying foreign exchange management.

Dai said the measures are expected to be carried out in three months and to copy them in other areas in China within one year.

Last week, Chinese regulators launched the trail of yuan two-way cash pooling service in the zone.



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