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Unique: China bars banks from promoting commodities-linked merchandise to retail patrons 


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An worker screens molten iron being poured right into a container at a metal plant in Hefei, Anhui province September 9, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer


BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s banking regulator has requested lenders to cease promoting funding merchandise linked to commodities futures to mom-and-pop patrons, three individuals with information of the matter informed Reuters, to curb funding losses amid unstable commodity costs.

It has additionally requested lenders to fully unwind their current books for these merchandise, which they manufacture and promote to particular person buyers, stated the sources, who’re concerned in and have been briefed on the choice.

The China Banking and Insurance coverage Regulatory Fee’s (CBIRC’s) order to exit these merchandise has not been reported earlier than. It issued the order this yr, two of the sources stated.

“The danger contained in banks’ commodity-linked investments can’t be simply noticed by peculiar buyers, neither can they bear it,” one of many sources stated. “Banks additionally do not have sufficient experience to run such merchandise correctly.”

The sources spoke on situation of anonymity because the directive isn’t but public. The CBIRC, China’s high banking watchdog, didn’t instantly reply to a Reuters electronic mail searching for feedback.

The transfer comes as runaway commodity costs in each onshore and offshore markets have raised regulatory considerations in regards to the dangers of speculative bets, prompting China’s state planner and exchanges in latest weeks to take price-control measures

The CBIRC desires to forestall losses like that incurred a yr in the past by Financial institution of China (BoC) on crude-oil linked funding merchandise, the individuals added.

It has requested lenders, together with Industrial and Business Financial institution of China (ICBC), to report “clean-up progress” on commodities-linked funding merchandise on a month-to-month foundation to regulators, two of the sources stated.

The CBIRC has, nonetheless, not given a particular deadline to the banks for fully exiting their positions, they added.

The ICBC didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Whereas the whole measurement of such merchandise within the Chinese language banking system is unknown, BoC’s $1.8 billion losses tied to only futures highlights the attractiveness of comparable merchandise for retail buyers searching for increased returns.


Regulators are apprehensive mom-and-pop buyers might get burnt once more by the latest massive swings in commodity costs, pushed by post-pandemic demand restoration, liquidity easing and speculative buying and selling. Authorities watchdogs have urged Chinese language industrial metallic corporations to take care of market order.

BoC’s losses final yr had worn out a number of 1000’s of such small accounts held by retail buyers, starting from school college students to retired employees, prompting the CBIRC on the time to ask business banks to halt new gross sales of a variety of funding merchandise linked to commodity futures.

Given the latest value volatility, the ban on new gross sales has been widened to a full sector clean-up, masking merchandise linked to commodities not particularly focused earlier than, resembling gold, silver, platinum, palladium, and soy beans, the three sources stated.

Costs of most of those commodities have spiked in latest months, whereas futures costs for iron ore and corn on the Dalian Commodity Trade in addition to metal and on the Shanghai Futures Trade have all hit report highs this yr.

Some banks are contemplating methods to shift a part of their current commodity-linked investments and shoppers to affiliated brokerages, however that may want a nod from the securities regulator, one of many sources stated.

Whereas banks’ derivative-like merchandise have flaws in design and threat management, analysts say a harsh sector-wide clean-up means a serious setback in China’s plans to open up the market.

Regardless of repeated vows to ramp up monetary derivatives, Shanghai Futures Trade has already halted collaboration with banks on the launch of recent spinoff merchandise within the wake of BoC’s losses, two separate sources informed Reuters.

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