Cleartrade Exchange brings access to China’s domestic steel market for first time

Singapore and London - 10 July 2012

With China now accounting for 46% of world production, listing of new swaps contracts reflects the vital role in hedging the steel complex.

Cleartrade Exchange Pte Ltd (CLTX) has launched five steel swaps contracts, creating the first opportunity to trade Chinese domestic steel products electronically outside of China. The launch also makes electronic trading in steel scrap derivatives possible for the first time.

With Chinese steel production now accounting for almost half of the global total, price movements in the Chinese steel and iron ore markets are attracting increasing attention of steel market players. CLTX provides the easiest way for non-Chinese companies to access China’s domestic market, using its OTC electronic global marketplace for freight and commodity derivatives.

In the past twelve months Chinese rebar prices have moved from a high of $786/tonne to a low of $634/t, while 62% Fe iron ore delivered into China has moved between $116/t and $181/t. With the cost of iron ore accounting for over 40% of finished steel prices there is a clear opportunity for steel market players to arbitrage between the two using cash-settled swaps.

Iron ore volumes have shown huge growth in recent months, with a new record of almost 8m tonnes of cleared swaps trading in May. Global steel production showed growth of almost 6% in 2011 to reach over 1.5bn tonnes, according to World Steel Dynamics, illustrating the so far untapped potential for hedging.

Richard Baker, CEO of CLTX, said: “The launch of this suite of steel products underlines our commitment to helping our clients mitigate their risk using the Virtual Steel Mill. With raw materials such as iron ore and price inputs like freight already trading on our exchange, this latest initiative allows our clients to also hedge their end-product risk.”

Steven Randall, managing director of TSI, commented, “This year has seen a sea change in the market’s appetite for trading steel and scrap swaps. Cleared volumes of scrap swaps settled using TSI have hit new monthly records three times since January and we are delighted to partner with Cleartrade Exchange to enable clients to electronically trade these TSI-based derivatives.”

Isabella Kurek-Smith, director of freight & energy, LCH.Clearnet Ltd., said, “We believe that the efficiencies of clearing, coupled with margin offsets across the ferrous metal and freight complex, will further accelerate the development of liquidity in the global steel market. In 2010 LCH.Clearnet Ltd was the first clearing house to list OTC steel swaps and it continues to be a pioneer in derivative clearing services.”

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