* Futures will trade on Shanghai International Energy Exchange
* Bourse seeks market makers to ensure liquidity upon launch
* Contract will create more arbitrage opportunities - LME chief (Adds detail on market makers in paras 8-9)
BEIJING/SHANGHAI, Oct 23 (Reuters) - China’s securities regulator said on Friday it had approved an international copper futures contract for launch on Nov. 19, in a move that will give foreign investors access to trading in the world’s top consumer of the metal.
Gao Li, a spokeswoman for the China Securities Regulatory Commission, announced the launch date for the contract, which will be traded on the Shanghai International Energy Exchange (INE), at a weekly news briefing.
The INE copper contract has long been awaited by foreign investors looking to hedge exposure in China. Its price will be quoted in yuan but exclude tax and customs duty, since delivery will be into bonded warehouses.
INE parent the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) has a domestic copper contract, but it is not accessible to foreign market participants.
The international copper pricing benchmark is the London Metal Exchange (LME) contract, denominated in dollars, while CME Group has a copper contract in the United States.
LME Chief Executive Matt Chamberlain welcomed the roll-out of another contract.
“It’s good for the market to have a wide range of contracts to trade and arbitrage,” he told Reuters on Thursday, referring to the practice where investors seek to take advantage of differences in prices on two or more platforms.
“We do well out of the arbitrage business and the fact that there is now going to be a third (international) contract can only be a good thing.”
In a circular on Friday, the INE invited applications from potential market makers for its copper contract. Market makers are frequently deployed by exchanges to ensure liquidity.
Interested parties must have net assets of at least 50 million yuan ($7.5 million) or equivalent in foreign currency, and have until Oct. 30 to apply.
The INE published a draft of the contract last week, seeking feedback.
China has so far internationalised five commodities futures contracts as part of its ambitions to become a commodities pricing power - crude oil, TSR 20 rubber, low-sulphur fuel oil, iron ore and purified terephthalic acid (PTA). ($1 = 6.6753 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Jenny Su and Emily Chow; Additional reporting by Pratima Desai and Eric Onstad in London; Writing by Tom Daly; Editing by Mark Potter, Kim Coghill and Jan Harvey)
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