BEIJING: China’s top securities regulator is still preparing to launch oil futures and is considering lifting restrictions on stock index futures imposed during the 2015 stock market crash, the Shanghai Securities Times said on Saturday. The newspaper report cited an internal meeting at the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) held by its chairman, Liu Shiyu. It did not give any details about the timing of the crude futures contract launch or when the limits may be relaxed. A move to end curbs on equity futures would likely spur a return of institutional investors and hedge funds to the market and boost liquidity, which has shrunk due to the restrictions.
China’s mid-2015 stock market crash wiped $3 trillion off share values. Since then, Beijing has tightened rules in the financial sector. It has restricted trading in stock index futures, banned grey-market margin financing and curbed shadow banking businesses. On Jan. 20, Reuters reported that years-long plans for the crude contracts, which would see Shanghai compete with international benchmarks, had been shelved due to market resistance. Saturday’s media report said Liu, at the internal meeting, reiterated the CSRC stance that it will continue to stabilise commodities futures markets. Last year, speculators roiled those trading items ranging from rubber and eggs to steel.