Foreign investors began trade in domestic iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) Friday, another step in financial opening-up.
The move comes after the launch of crude oil futures in March, the first futures contracts listed on the Chinese mainland open to overseas investors.
"We will accelerate the process to attract more foreign investors," said Fang Xinghai, vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission. "We will internationalize all mature future contracts and exert global influence that matches China's economic status."
The most actively traded September iron ore contract closed down 1.15 percent at 471.5 yuan (about 75 U.S. dollars) a tonne and volume for the most traded contract reached 2.86 million lots Friday.
Iron ore contracts were launched in 2013 and broadly traded among producers and traders, with futures prices closely correlated to spot prices. As of Thursday, 21 overseas companies had opened accounts with Jinrui futures, a domestic brokerage.
By including overseas investors, futures prices should better reflect the global iron ore market, according to Li Zhengqiang, president of the DCE.
"Global companies mitigate price volatility by locking into prices through futures contracts. This could help industrial upgrades," Li said.
China imports more than 1 billion tonnes of iron ore annually. As such a large importer, China has a responsibility to provide transparent iron ore futures prices, Li said.
The internationalization of crude oil and iron ore futures are important steps in opening up China's commodity futures market. The introduction of overseas investors brings challenges to regulators and exchanges that will improve mechanisms and management, said Li.
The costal city of Dalian in northeast China's Liaoning Province, where the DCE is based, will support the DCE in its expansion and speed up making the city into a global commodity pricing and risk management center, said Tan Chengxu, mayor of the city.