Dalian Exchange to Start Iron Ore Futures for Physical Delivery

Traders Work at the Dalian Commodities Exchange
Traders work at the Dalian Commodities Exchange in Dalian. Photographer: Adam Dean/Bloomberg

Dalian Commodity Exchange is set to start trading the first iron ore futures contracts for physical delivery as early as this week as China seeks greater control of price setting for the steel-making material.

Trading will begin “as soon as possible” and Oct. 18 is among the dates being considered after the securities regulator approved the listing of contracts last week, Wang Weijun, a spokesman for the bourse in the northeastern port city, said by telephone today.

Chinese steelmakers, the world’s biggest iron ore buyers, earlier this year questioned the reliability of a price index provided by Platts that became a benchmark after producers including Vale SA and Rio Tinto Group scrapped annual contract price talks in 2010. China started its own spot trading platform last year, introducing a weighted average daily price in March.

“Trading iron ore futures may take off quickly because investors are already familiar with steel-related products including rebar contracts on the Shanghai Futures Exchange,” said Wang Yongliang, an analyst at Beijing CIFCO Futures Co.

The contracts will be for 100 metric tons, have a daily trading band of 4 percent and be denominated in yuan, the exchange said in a separate e-mailed statement yesterday. Iron ore futures already offered by Singapore Exchange Ltd., CME Group Inc. and Intercontinental Exchange Inc. are based on indexes rather than the physical commodity, according to the statement.

The Dalian bourse, China’s third-largest futures exchange by volume, will provide an “objective and fair” pricing mechanism, it said.

Imports by China rose to a record 74.6 million tons in September, according to data released on Oct. 12 by the customs agency. The seaborne trade is the biggest global commodity cargo after oil.

Iron ore for immediate delivery at Tianjin port traded at $133.10 a dry ton on Oct. 11, according to a price index compiled by The Steel Index Ltd. The spot contract has declined 8.1 percent this year.