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Stock index futures trading likely from January
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Contrary to speculation, the mainland's much-awaited first stock index futures trading on China Financial Futures Exchange in Shanghai is likely to be launched in January rather than sometime this year after the Beijing Olympics, according to a highly placed source in China International Capital Co (CICC), a major domestic investment bank.

"The launch date of the CSI300 index futures is most likely to be the third Friday of January. The target date will be released this November or December, one or two months ahead of the launch," the source told China Daily yesterday.

The source emphasized that the authorities deemed it prudent to launch index futures trading in a stable stock market environment with limited daily price fluctuations.

But other industry experts disagree. They said both the exchange and futures companies are well prepared for the index futures debut. Launching index futures trading would help stabilize the stock market, they said.

"Most futures companies are fully prepared for index futures trading," said Li Kebin, managing director of the financial futures department at Jinrui Futures Co.

"It's possible to launch index futures anytime after the Olympics," Li said. "After more than two years of preparation by both the exchange and futures companies and about two years of mock trading, there's no need for further delays."

Li added: "Our company, along with many other futures companies, has been working on effective modules for large institutional investors to make possible arbitrage between spot and futures markets and providing consulting services for high- to medium-net-worth investors who would like to invest in index futures."

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