China's top securities regulator, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), said Friday that it has endorsed the Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) to carry out iron ore futures trading.
The specific time for the official listing of the futures contracts will be decided based on preparation work by the DCE as well as market situations, according to a CSRC document sent to the DCE.
The DCE said that it has so far completed contract design and draft rules with a strict mechanism on transactions, settlements, and delivery.
Risk control measures on cash deposits, price fluctuation caps, and position limits have also been thoroughly researched, said DCE.
Iron ore is the most important raw material for steel production, with Australia, China, Brazil and India accounting for around 80 percent of the world total output.
China is the world's second-largest iron ore producer and the biggest importer, with an output of 440 million tonnes, imports of 740 million tonnes and a consumption of 1.05 billion tonnes last year.
However, Chinese companies are facing greater risks due to frequent iron ore price fluctuations as long-term price agreements have been replaced by price indexes based on spot trade in recent years.
The CSRC spokesman said trading of iron ore futures will be beneficial to the establishment of a pricing system that better reflects the supply and demand in China and will help Chinese companies better manage price fluctuation risks.
The spokesman said that futures trading will better guarantee iron ore supply to China, improve the country's pricing power in international iron ore markets and protect its national interests.
Located in Dalian, a port city of northeast China's Liaoning Province, the DCE is one of four futures exchanges in China. It trades a wide range of futures, including contracts for corn, soybeans and coke.
Also on Friday, the CSRC gave the go-ahead for the listing of thermal coal futures contracts in Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange based in the city of Zhengzhou, capital of central China's Henan Province.