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Gold futures trading starts from Jan. 9, 2008
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The Shanghai Futures Exchange (SFE), one of China's major futures trading venues, will start gold futures trading on Jan. 9, the exchange said on Saturday. But the contract size will be larger than originally expected in order to discourage individual investors.


The contract size will be set at 1,000 grams. In an inquiry that the SFE distributed earlier this month, the contract size was listed at 300 gm.


An official with the SFE said the contract size was decided based on surveys. It is large enough to discourage those individual investors who lacked the ability to take risks, while also being useful to institutions.


"We started gold futures trading to provide channels for gold producers and individual investors to hedge against price fluctuations," said the official.


The China Securities Regulatory Commission said in a statement on Friday that it had approved the gold futures.


The launch of gold futures would add to the hedging options for gold producers against the fluctuating global market, analysts said.


Gold prices climbed almost 11 U.S. dollars an ounce, boosted by strong oil prices, weak U.S. economic data and political concerns following Thursday's assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.


An ounce of gold for February delivery added 10.90 U.S. dollars to settle at 842.70 U.S. dollars on the New York Mercantile Exchange.


The SFE has said it would impose strict risk controls on gold futures. It would set a minimum margin requirement of 7 percent of the contract value and a daily price movement band, probably within the range of plus or minus 5 percent of the previous settlement prices.


Gold was the second new futures product to be introduced in China this year. The first was zinc, which launched trading in March.


Last year, China produced a record 240 tons of gold, up 7.15 percent year-on-year. In the first nine months of this year, it produced 191.456 tons of gold, up 13.1 percent from the same period last year.


(Xinhua News Agency December 30, 2007)

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