Shanghai exchange to study aluminium bar futures

CHONGQING, China, Oct 15 (Reuters) - The Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) will look into launching an aluminium bar futures contract as part of a focus on downstream aluminium products, an official from the bourse said on Thursday.

The exchange currently only trades one aluminium contract, which was launched in 2005, based on high-purity aluminium ingots made by smelters. China is by far the world’s biggest producer and consumer of aluminium.

“In the next period, we will focus more on downstream products, like aluminium alloy” and check the feasibility of trading aluminium bar, Chen Chen, a senior manager from the ShFE, said during a panel session at the China International Aluminum Week conference in Chongqing.

Aluminium bar and rod is used in power transmission lines because of its light weight.

Chen was unable to say when the ShFE would start trading a contract for aluminium raw material alumina but said it should be “soon,” with some of the details on delivery warehouses and registered brands now being finalised.

China Hongqiao Group and Aluminum Corp of China Ltd, or Chalco, are among the companies that have applied to have their alumina brands registered, she said.

Another ShFE official said last month the exchange was aiming to launch alumina futures, originally planned for 2019, in the first half of 2021.

ShFE general manager Wang Fenghao said at the Chongqing conference on Wednesday that the exchange was studying opening up its aluminium futures to international participants. (Reporting by Min Zhang and Shivani Singh; writing by Tom Daly Editing by Robert Birsel)