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Futures turnover triples in China against stock woes
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Futures turnover in China hit 6.03 trillion yuan (about 837.5 billion U.S. dollars) in January, marking a three-fold jump from the same period last year.

It also grew 15.3 percent from December last year, according to statistics from China's three futures exchanges in Shanghai, Dalian and Zhengzhou.

The introduction of zinc and palm oil futures last year had enriched the market. The long awaited gold futures trade, in particular, had greatly boosted the turnover, which had contributed 261.5 billion yuan, or 9 percent of the January turnover in only 17 trading days after it made its debut on Shanghai Futures Exchange on Jan. 9.

"The metal futures, which have larger contract value, are especially active in the past year," said Yu Junli, the research director of Green Futures.

Also behind the turnover rise are investors who are disappointed by the turbulent stock market, and who are seeking profitable alternatives in the country's developing financial markets. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dived more than 18percent to 4320.77 points from the start of January amid the international stock market turbulence.

"When the stock market goes down, capital will flow into the futures market and some of it will stay here even when the stock market recovers," said Yu.

The brisk trade in the rapidly developing market seems to confirm popular expectations that the boom of futures deals will continue in 2008.

Compared with the well-developed commodity market, the Chinese futures market is much weaker, with only a couple of types of contracts available. Futures trading of pig, steel, crude, silver and lead are expected to be introduced to substantiate the market, said Yu.

"We are also expecting the introduction of the stock index futures this year," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency February 2, 2008)

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