ETF options could be launched in China as soon as this month as the country gears up for the full launch of options trading, a leading lawyer has said.
China is undergoing a widespread reform of its financial markets as it seeks to build Shanghai as a global financial centre and develop its capital markets.
The launch of options is seen as a key step in that development and the country’s main derivatives exchanges have been running mock trading since 2012.
Natasha Xie, a partner at the JunHe law firm and a key figure in the local derivatives market, said that some Chinese observers believe that ETF options could be launched this month.
In a recent press conference, Dang Ge, the press secretary of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said that ETF options will be launched on the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) imminently.
He later denied reports that the launch would be delayed until the Hong Kong Shanghai Stock Connect Scheme had been implemented, which is scheduled for October.
“Mock trading of the SSE’s ETF options has been stable and ongoing since June 2012. In July 2014, the SSE issued the Guidance on Risk Control for Security Companies in Operating ETF Option Brokerage Business, which provides requirements in terms of margin management, position limits, and risk management,” said Xie.
“As of June 2014, the SSE had finished site inspection of 67 members on their options trading and technology capacity. The first ETF options pilot program will include SSE 50 ETF options and SSE 180 ETF options.”
The launch of ETF options is expected to be followed by the launch of stock index options on the CSI 300 index traded on the China Financial Futures Exchange (CFFEX).
Xie said that CFFEX had completed preparations to list index options and is currently reviewing plans to offer portfolio margining to increase margin efficiency when trading options.
The Shenzhen Stock Exchange is also planning a launch this year and will start testing its systems in September with a view to launching SZSE 100 ETF options and SME Board ETF options this year.
In April, Liu Xingqiang, the General Manager of the Dalian Commodity Exchange, said it would launch commodity options, at the earliest, within this year.
The Shanghai Futures Exchange is also developing plans to launch gold options before the end of the year.
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