Reuters reported that China aims to launch iron ore options next year, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said, as the world's top buyer of the steelmaking raw material looks to offer more hedging tools to iron ore producers and steelmakers. China's plan follows the opening of its iron ore futures to foreign investors in May, and would challenge iron ore options in Singapore, where the bulk of global trades is concentrated, as well as in New York. The source told Reuters "The Dalian Commodity Exchange is still working on preparations for the iron ore options. But it won't take too long and could be launched by the end of 2019 at the latest," declining to be identified as the plan has not been approved by market regulators.
The Dalian Commodity Exchange and the China Securities Regulatory Commission did not immediately respond to faxed requests for comment.
As a hedging tool, options would allow iron ore traders, miners and steel mills to manage price exposure, giving the buyer the right - but no obligation - to assume a futures position at a specified price.
The ability to carry out hedging trades could encourage more primary users to take part in the iron ore futures market, which traders say has been dominated by speculative investors who have deserted the market recently amid stagnant prices.
Iron ore options are mainly traded on the Singapore Exchange, with 1.77 million contracts, equal to 176.8 million tonnes, traded in January to August, exchange data showed. New York-based CME Group Inc also offers iron ore options.
The Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) allowed foreign investors to directly trade iron ore futures for the first time in May, hoping the most liquid iron ore derivative in the world would benefit from more institutional investors.