The huge demand in the Chinese mainland for commodities and resources, combined with the liberalization of the Renminbi (RMB), presents new opportunities for Hong Kong, said Hong Kong's financial secretary John Tsang on Thursday.
Tsang made the remarks while delivering a speech at London Metal Exchange (LME) Week Asia 2014 which kicked off Thursday at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center. The theme of this year's event is "global connectivity."
He made specific mention of the tie-up between the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchange, which allows Hong Kong and overseas investors to buy directly Shanghai-listed shares for the first time, and mainland investors to buy Hong Kong listed shares.
"The scheme benefits both places. This is just the latest example of Hong Kong's role in connecting the mainland's financial markets to the global markets," he said.
He noted that Hong Kong has become an important platform for the trading markets of international commodities since the acquisition of LME by HKEx in 2012; meanwhile, as China's global financial center, Hong Kong remains at the forefront of offshore RMB business as it accounts for about 70 percent of global offshore RMB transactions and the largest and most active pool of offshore RMB funds.
The mutual commodity trade would help connect the mainland and international markets, said Charles Li, HKEx Chief Executive, adding that China had yet to acquire the international pricing power though the country had become the world's biggest commodity producer and buyer.
Li said mutual trading between the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchange offered a good revelation that mutual commodity trade would be practicable under intact systems, settlement and clearing methods as well as transaction practices. He also said he hoped to see an increase in memberships in both the HKEx and the LME.
There was no plan to connect memberships or trading platforms of the LME and the HKEx, according to Garry Jones, chief executive of LME.
Jones also said there was no timetable for building warehouses in the mainland and it would depend on the state of demand for commodities from the mainland.
At present, LME does not have any warehouses in the Chinese mainland.