China is extending its control of onshore markets to commodities exchanges, spooked by signs that speculators have shifted from China's volatile stock markets to commodities futures.
The country's top commodities exchanges - the Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE), Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) and Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange (ZCE) - were asked recently by China's exchange regulator to draft rules designed to "regulate the behavior of program trading" in futures markets, according to people familiar with the matter.
The move comes on the back of a slew of new regulations aimed at curbing what Chinese authorities call "malicious" trading in stock futures, blamed in part for stoking the turmoil that saw stocks slide over 40 percent since June.
That prompted hedge funds and other investors to steer their order flow into commodities, which had previously not been impacted by Beijing's regulatory overhaul.
But after trading volumes in commodities futures such as iron ore jumped sharply last week - just as new stock trading rules kicked in - Beijing appears concerned about the potential for the flow of orders to overwhelm the country's commodities futures markets, which rank second in the world behind the United States in terms of traded volume on the top three commodity bourses.