【英语中国】中国期货业:带着镣铐起舞

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所属分类:双语中国

2010-11-1 01:32

小艾摘要: In Dalian, a city in Northeast China known for steel and ships, the city’s tallest building is not a bank or a mill – it is the Dalian Commodities Exchange.As China has emerged as the global driver ...
In Dalian, a city in Northeast China known for steel and ships, the city’s tallest building is not a bank or a mill – it is the Dalian Commodities Exchange.

As China has emerged as the global driver for commodities, the prices of goods from cotton to copper are increasingly set by market fundamentals in China. However, China’s commodities exchanges do not yet play a similar global role, and they are limited by laws banning foreign participation as well as China’s renminbi capital controls.

Yet as the 53-storey, white marble tower of the Dalian Commodities Exchange suggests, China’s futures exchanges are ambitious and hungry to extend their reach. They are rolling out new products, building new buildings, educating the public about the value of hedging, and seeking to build a profile commensurate with China’s status as a commodities heavyweight.

They still have a long way to go. Foreign businesses are barred from investing in commodities futures under Chinese regulations (foreign investment in equities is similarly highly restricted, although slowly these restrictions are lifting). The renminbi is only gradually opening up channels of convertibility, making it difficult for big investors to move money into and out of the country.

On top of that, China’s exchanges open for a mere four hours a day, and the country’s legal system lacks the transparency necessary to reassure investors that disputes will be arbitrated fairly. And while markets are extremely liquid in the short term, they are not liquid enough in the long term for serious hedges that could take the place of, say, the 63-month copper contract offered on the London Metals Exchange.

“One of the reasons China’s copper contract does not play the global role that it deserves is that the Chinese futures market is still closed to foreign investors,” points out Chen Baizhu, professor of finance at USC Marshall. “In 1994, China had bond futures and there were huge speculative bubbles and many people got burnt. Now [regulators] have become more cautious, particularly as people can use futures to speculate,” Mr Chen says.

Yet given these barriers, China’s exchanges have grown surprisingly quickly. China’s futures industry may be only 17 years old but its exchanges are now among the most liquid in the world in terms of the numbers of contracts traded. Last year, the Shanghai futures exchange was the 10th-largest derivative exchange in the world by volume, according to the Futures Industry Association, and the Zhengzhou and Dalian exchanges were just behind it.

Part of the reason for this is product innovation. Unique products such as Shanghai’s contract for rebar, a form of steel bar used in construction, have drawn in investors, including some foreign investors who use it as a hedge for Chinese growth. The rebar contract was just launched this year and is already the most active product on the exchange — more than 16m tonnes worth of rebar contracts changed hands on Thursday.

In Dalian, the exchange is developing the world’s first future for coke, a key input to make steel, and last year the exchange introduced a contract for PVC piping. At one point the exchange even considered a futures contract for live hogs, although this was shelved.

China first introduced futures exchanges in the early 1990s. Since then, and as regulations tightened during that decade, more than 40 futures exchanges have been whittled down to three: Shanghai for base metals, Zhengzhou for agricultural products, and Dalian for other agricultural products as well as an expanding range of chemical and energy products.

China’s exchanges have been hitting new highs during the current bull market – Dalian, for example, reported a record last week with Rmb380bn worth of trades in one day. The hot market has prompted several Chinese exchanges, in an effort to reduce volumes and increase margins, to charge both sides of the trades for certain contracts.

When Chinese exchanges do fully liberalise, there is little doubt that they will seek to capitalise on China’s role as the prime consumer of many global commodities.

But that may not happen for some time. “Ultimately Chinese commodities can’t become a benchmark until there is free convertibility in the currency,” says Nick Ronalds, executive director of FIA Asia.

在以钢铁和船舶业闻名的中国东北城市大连,全市最高的建筑不是银行或工厂,而是大连商品交易所(Dalian Commodities Exchange)。

随着中国成为大宗商品的全球推动者,中国的市场基本面也越来越多地决定着从棉花到铜等一系列商品的价格。然而,中国的商品交易所尚未在全球范围内起到类似的作用,而中国禁止外资参与的法律以及人民币的资本管制,也限制了它们的发展。

不过,大连商交所用白色大理石做外墙、高达53层的大楼表明,中国的各家期货交易所都雄心勃勃,渴望扩大自身的影响。它们纷纷推出新产品,建造新大楼,向公众讲述套期保值的价值,寻求打造一个与中国“大宗商品重要参与者”地位相称的形象。

他们仍有很长的路要走。根据中国的规定,外资企业不得在中国投资大宗商品期货(外资对股票的投资同样受到高度限制,不过这些限制正逐渐解除)。人民币可兑换渠道的开放步伐缓慢,使得大型投资者的资金难以进出中国。

除此以外,中国的交易所每天只开4个小时,而且中国的法律体系缺乏透明度,不足以保证投资者的纠纷能够得到公平仲裁。虽然市场短期流动性极其充裕,但一些重大的套期保值产品的长期流动性则不足,无法取代目前已有的成熟产品,比如伦敦金属交易所(London Metals Exchange)提供的63个月期铜期货。

南加州大学马歇尔商学院(USC Maeshall)金融教授陈百助指出:“中国期铜合约没有发挥应有的全球作用,其中的一个原因在于,中国期货市场仍然不对外国投资者开放。1994年,中国有债券期货,但出现了巨大的投机泡沫,许多人受了伤。现在(监管机构)已变得更加谨慎,尤其是因为人们能利用期货进行投机。”

尽管存在这些障碍,中国交易所的发展速度却快得出人意料。中国的期货行业只有17年的历史,但就交易的合约数量而言,中国的期交所现在已跻身全球最具流动性的期交所之列。根据期货业协会(Futures Industry Association)的数据,以成交量计,上海期货交易所去年是全球第十大衍生品交易所,郑州和大连交易所紧随其后。

出现这种局面的部分原因在于产品创新。一些独特的产品,例如上海的螺纹钢合约,吸引了投资者,包括一些借此对冲中国增长的外国投资者。螺纹钢是一种用于建筑中的条形钢材,其合约于今年刚刚推出,但已经是该交易所交投最活跃的产品——周四有价值超过1600万吨的螺纹钢合约换手。

大连期交所正在开发针对炼钢关键材料——焦炭——的全球首份期货合约。去年,该期交所还推出了PVC管期货合约。大连期交所甚至考虑过生猪期货合约,但最终搁置了。

中国的期货交易所最早于上世纪90年代初推出。此后,随着90年代监管规定的收紧,逾40家交易所减少到了3家:上海交易贱金属;郑州交易农产品;大连交易其他农产品及范围越来越广的化工和能源产品。

在当前的牛市中,中国的期交所屡创新高。例如,大连期交所上周公布,单日成交额达到创纪录的3800亿元人民币。由于市场红火,为了减少成交量,提高利润率,一些中国交易所已决定对某些合约双边收费。

几乎可以肯定,当中国的交易所最终全面放开之后,他们必然会寻求利用中国作为许多全球大宗商品主要消费者的角色,从中获利。

但这种情况可能一段时间内还不会发生。FIA Asia执行董事尼克?罗纳德斯(Nick Ronalds)表示:“归根结底,在人民币实现可自由兑换之前,中国的大宗商品不可能成为基准。”

译者/李裕

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