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China’s Market News: Regulators Warn of Excessive Speculation in Commodities

China’s Market News: Regulators Warn of Excessive Speculation in Commodities

Renee Mu, Currency Analyst

This daily digest focuses on market sentiment, new developments in China’s foreign exchange policy, changes in financial market regulations and Chinese-language economic coverage in order to keep DailyFX readers up-to-date on news typically covered only in Chinese-language sources.

- China’s three commodity exchanges imposed measures in the effort of curbing surging speculation.

- PetroChina, the largest Chinese oil producer, reported a 52.4% drop to profits in 2015.

- Shanghai Clearing House said it will issue the first Yuan-denominated bonds in a free-trade-zone soon.

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Hexun News: Chinese leading online media of financial news.

- On April 27, China’s three major commodity exchanges increased transaction fees and margin requirements on commodities futures in the effort of curbing surging prices and increasing trading volumes driven by speculative demand. Commodities prices have been rising quickly over the past few days; at Dalian Commodity Exchange, the top Chinese commodity exchange, iron ore (I1605) hit the daily limit-up level for two consecutive trading days on April 20 and 21, following an outsized move of 4% on the 18th. On April 21, 11 major commodities including iron ore, cooking coal and cotton all reached the daily limit-up.

For Chinese investors, commodity futures are alternative investment tools of equities and real estate. Due to the equity plunges in August 2015 and January 2016, China has tightened controls on equity markets and this has led to some investors abandoning the stock market. Restrictions on home purchases have also been tightened in the large cities recently in the effort of controlling soaring prices. Thus, Chinese speculators moved to the less-regulated commodity markets. Also, as the Chinese government is assisting manufacturing firms to reform and may spend more in infrastructure projects to stimulate the economy, speculators are betting on price increases in raw material prices. The early April data has shown some stability in raw material prices.

However, there are risks: 1) potential bubbles - the price increases in commodities are not consistent with current fundamentals. Despite the fact that China is the world’s largest consumer of raw materials, the daily trading volume of iron ore futures has begun to even exceed China’s annual imports. And 2) many of the new entrants into commodity markets are retail investors who came from the equity market and lack the understanding of the complexity of commodity futures.

Sina News: China’s most important online media source, similar to CNN in the US. They also own a Chinese version of Twitter, called Weibo, with around 200 million active usersmonthly.

- PetroChina, the largest Chinese oil producer, reported that its total profit in 2015 dropped 52.4% to 82.47 billion yuan from a year ago. The net profit declined 66.9% to 35.52 billion yuan, the largest annual drop since its IPO in 2007. The company explained that the plunge in international oil prices and the weakness in domestic natural gas prices led to such profit declines.

-The profits of Chinese industrial enterprises above the designated size increased by 7.4% to 1.342 trillion yuan in the first quarter of 2016 from a year ago. In March, the profits of those enterprises increased 11.1% to 561.2 billion yuan compared to its 2015 counterpart. Over the first three months, the profits of state-holding industrial enterprises above the designated size fell to 235.8 billion yuan, with a year-on-year decrease of -5.7%. The profits of collective-owned enterprises dropped to 9.94 billion yuan, with a year-over-year decrease of -1.4%. The profits of joint-stock enterprises rose to 89.66 billion yuan, with a year-over-year increase of 8.4%.

Chinaforex News: a news agency administrated by SAFE

- Shanghai Clearing House is readying to launch the first Yuan-denominated bonds in free trade zones. This is another step that China is taking to further promote the Yuan and Yuan-based products. The target investors are institutions located in both the free trade zone and as well as overseas. Free trade zones are regions within mainland China’s territory, but have some offshore-market features. They provide special and favorable politics to institutions in the region.

Written by Renee Mu, DailyFX Research Team

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DailyFX provides forex news and technical analysis on the trends that influence the global currency markets.