Chinese regulators are aiming to open the country's markets to stock index futures in the first half of this year.
Fan Fuchun, vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), made the announcement in a meeting of the annual top legislative body and a broad-based national advisory organization sessions.
The CSRC had made a systematic research on the issues of fund companies' involvement in stock index futures, he said, without elaborating.
International financial giants have reportedly been lobbying Chinese regulators to let them join the first batch of investors to trade the nation's pioneering stock index futures.
The trade of stock index futures would be launched on the Shanghai-based China Financial Futures Exchange, CSRC chairman Shang Fulin said in October last year.
Market watchers believe the introduction of such derivatives could provide institutions with a much-needed tool to hedge risks, but may also spur speculation and widen volatility.
The China Financial Futures Exchange, the country's first financial derivatives exchange, was inaugurated on Sep. 8, 2006.
(Xinhua News Agency March 6, 2007)