A Life in a Day for Chinese Commodity Futures Contracts: Chart

The intensity of futures trading on Chinese commodities exchanges is making some of the world’s most liquid markets look leisurely. Analysis of aggregate open interest, volumes and trading hours indicate that iron ore contracts on the Dalian Commodity Exchange and steel rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange are held on average for about four hours, compared with almost 40 for West Texas Intermediate crude in New York and 70 for natural gas. Wu Zhili from Shenhua Futures Co. estimates that as much as 70 percent of trading is retail investors speculating on price movements, as opposed to producers or consumers using contracts to hedge.

— With assistance by Martin Ritchie

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