Stock index futures unlikely before July - report

By Dong Zhixin (
Updated: 2007-04-06 14:57

The long-anticipated stock index futures is unlikely to be launched in the first half of the year due to technical and policy reasons, said a report Friday.

The testing version of the trading system released nearly half a year ago does not allow for an automatic forced liquidation which is important for the futures companies, the Beijing News cited a source with a major futures company as saying.

The China Financial Futures Exchange was said to be capable of finishing the technical preparations no earlier than the end of June, according to the source.

Many technical problems concerning the trading system remain to be solved, admitted an employee of Sunguard Kingstar, a firm responsible for the development of the trading system, the report said.

But his firm is sure to get fully prepared technically for the launch of the stock index futures, the employee was quoted as saying.

Besides the technical problem, there are also policy hurdles, said the source with the futures company.

The Regulation on the Trading of Futures, released by the State Council, would go into effect April 15, paving the way for the launch of the stock index futures.

However, four related rules which, together with the regulation, are supposed to compose a whole set of rules for futures trading, have not been finished yet, said the source. The regulators are still soliciting opinions on the rules.

Only after the four rules are made public could the China Financial Futures Exchange start releasing its trading and clearing rules before accepting the applications from the members, the source noted.

It will usually take 15 to 30 days for the exchange to approve the membership and the members need 30 days for preparation after getting the approval, added the source.

The report came amid wild speculations that the stock index futures would be launched in May.

All signs indicate that the regulators have got ready for a May launch, reported the Caijing Magazine on March 19. "The most possible time is early or mid-May," the magazine quoted a source close to the decision-makers as saying.

The regulators would try to launch the stock index futures in the first half of the year, said Fan Fuchun, vice chairman of China Securities Regulatory Commission on March 4.

Three days later, Zhu Yuchen, general manager of China Financial Futures Exchange, revealed that all related preparations have basically been completed and the stock index futures would be launched at a proper time.

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