Bloomberg News

Hong Kong Exchanges to Trade Futures of China Shares Next Month

March 12, 2007

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd., (388) which operates Asia's second-biggest stock market, said it plans to introduce futures in the shares of eight Chinese finance companies on April 16.

The eight companies, including the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (601398), the country's biggest bank, are included in the Hang Seng China H-Financials Index of Hong Kong-traded shares. ICBC raised HK$125 billion last year in the Hong Kong portion of a record $22 billion sale.

``There is strong investor interest in H shares,'' Gerald Greiner, chief operating officer of Hong Kong Exchanges, said in a faxed statement today, noting that Hong Kong Exchanges has received requests for futures contracts on the index.

Hong Kong Exchanges, which more than doubled its fourth- quarter profit to HK$844.5 million ($108 million), is seeking to introduce more products to boost trading and liquidity as there may not be big initial share sales this year, Chief Executive Officer Paul Chow said last week.

China Construction Bank Corp. (939), Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd., Bank of Communications Co., China Merchants Bank Co., China Life Insurance Co., PICC Property and Casualty Co. and Bank of China Ltd. (3988) will also have futures, the statement said.

The introduction of the futures is pending approval from the Securities and Futures Commission, Hong Kong Exchanges said in the statement. The exchange will also introduce more stock option classes and stock futures contracts on March 19, it said.

A futures contract is an obligation to buy or sell a security at a set price for delivery by a specific date. H shares are stock in companies incorporated in China and listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

The Hang Seng China H-Financials Index (H-FIN), which rose 1.4 percent to 11,408.2 today, has gained 69 percent in the past year, compared with a 25 percent advance in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chia-Peck Wong in Hong Kong at cpwong@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ben Richardson at at Brichardson8@bloomberg.net.


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