Shanxi province, China's largest coal producer, said it has plans to establish the country's first coal and coke futures exchange to help stabilize the domestic market and secure a bigger voice in international pricing.
"We have submitted a feasibility study to the authorities with the aim of establishing the market in 2012," said Wang Hua, director at the Shanxi provincial capital market development office.
In the first quarter of this year, coal producers in the province took a major blow from rapidly falling coal prices. This had sent the Shanxi economy into a tailspin. Shanxi was ranked at the bottom of all mainland provinces with a negative GDP growth of 8.1 percent.
"China is the world's largest coal-producing country, which is in need of a coal-related futures exchange to get more rights on international pricing. If it's difficult to set up the bourse in Shanxi, we expect to cooperate with the other commodity bourses to launch the futures products," Wang said.
Shang Fulin, chairman of China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), yesterday said at the sixth Shanghai Derivatives Market Forum that the CSRC would continue to encourage more futures products in China to help domestic enterprises hedge against financial risks.
Shanxi seems to be the ideal location for the bourse as it is near the producing areas and has a convenient transportation and logistics network.
Some analysts, however, feel that the market should not be located in Shanxi, as producers close to the provincial government could dominate it.
"The coal-producing province may have more incentives to protect local producers and this could interrupt a fair pricing mechanism. So, it would be better to locate the bourse in a mature financial center," said Han Xiaoping, a veteran energy analyst with Beijing Falcon Pioneer Technology Co.
(China Daily June 3, 2009)