China's bank BoCom says negative oil prices did not impact customers: local media

SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s Bank of Communications Co Ltd (BoCom) said, according to The Paper, that the plunge in U.S. crude oil futures prices to negative territory this month had no impact on customers of its oil futures trading products.

FILE PHOTO: A logo of China's Bank of Communications is displayed outside its branch at the financial Central district in Hong Kong, China September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

While it was exposed to the May West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil contract - which closed at minus $37.63 per barrel on April 20, one day before it expired - the bank had rolled over or closed its positions on April 14, according to local media The Paper, citing BoCom’s business director Tu Hong.

“In our book entry, we indeed have the May crude oil contract, but on April 14 we settled or rolled over. The negative value for WTI crude oil futures May contract on April 20 had no impact on our customers,” Tu said.

Tu also said, the paper reported, that based on the recent volatility in oil prices, the bank had issued risk warnings and suspended new open positions for its crude products to control the impact of the oil markets on its customers.

BoCom told the customers of its crude oil products by phone and SMS message to remember to pay attention to risks, and to perform risk management and control, Tu said.

“To follow up, we will pay close attention to the market’s movement and situation, and ... take the appropriate measures in following the requirements of the regulatory authorities and especially the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission to protect ... our customers and to control risks,” he said.

BoCom suspended new open positions for crude oil trading on Thursday last week, saying current pricing and liquidity risks in the crude oil market were concerns.

Oil prices have plunged this year due to economic damage caused by the coronavirus, a price war triggered by Saudi Arabia and Russia, and a shortage of storage for excess oil, leading to steep falls in many oil-linked products.

Some investors at Bank of China (BoC) were hit hard by the fall in WTI prices, as BoC said it settled its May crude oil futures trading product contracts on the final trading day of the expiring WTI contract.

The collapse in WTI futures occurred on April 20, and the May contract expired on April 21.

Reporting by Emily Chow in Shanghai and Cheng Leng in Beijing; Editing by Tom Hogue