HONG KONG, March 4 (Reuters) - The Hong Kong Stock Exchange , the world's fourth-largest exchange operator, said on Tuesday it would add yuan currency futures to after-hours trading from April 7.
The bourse introduced after-hours futures trading -- from 5 to 11 pm -- in April last year. Hang Seng Index and H-shares Index futures were the first products that were included.
Mini Hang Seng Index (Mini HSI) and Mini H-shares Index (Mini HHI) Futures were later added to the after-hours trading session in January.
Before the launch of the standardised futures contracts, market players made use of offshore yuan deliverable forward (DF) and non-deliverable forward (NDF) markets to hedge their yuan exposure or speculate on yuan appreciation.
China has been actively promoting the international use of its currency to reduce its reliance on the dollar. A thriving offshore yuan market has sprung up as a result and exchanges from Singapore to London are eager for a piece of the action.
Besides the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, CME Group, the biggest U.S. futures market operator, also offers deliverable offshore yuan, or renminbi, futures.
The Chinese currency has firmed every year against the dollar since 2010 with recent gains coming amid very little volatility and despite widespread weakness among emerging market currencies.
However, it suffered its biggest weekly loss on record on Friday, as the central bank stepped up its intervention to weaken the currency to stamp out speculative money and prepare for further market reforms.
"Last week people saw that the renminbi is not a one-way street," said Charles Li, chief executive of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, "RMB volatility is here to stay".