Iron ore waiting to be shipped at Qingdao Port in Shandong Province. [China Daily]
China is preparing to launch the first iron ore physical trading platform by the end of this year to provide a transparent pricing system for domestic and overseas participants, a senior official said.
After one year of research and study, the China Beijing International Mining Exchange (CBMX) will launch its iron ore index and an online physical trading platform in December, said Dong Chaobin, exchange president.
He said the shareholders of the platform are CBMX, Aluminum Corp of China and China Everbright Group, though he declined to break down the shareholding.
"The price index will be calculated based on the actual trading prices at domestic and foreign ports," said Dong. "The trading platform is designed to serve international and Chinese iron ore producers, business traders and steel companies."
To avoid speculation, financial organizations and banks may not participate in the platform, he said.
"The advantage of our platform is that the talent, technologies and finance in the industry are mostly based in Beijing, as well as the governmental industry supervisors," he said. "However, in terms of logistics, there are also some disadvantages compared with coastal cities."
The establishment of the platform will help China gain more of a say in global iron ore pricing, Liang Ruodong, vice-president of CBMX, said.
"Many overseas steel makers are interested in the platform and are discussing joining the system," he said.
Dong said that the exchange wants to provide a transparent and public channel for iron ore producers and steel makers to choose their business partners for trading, which will be more convenient and fast.
According to the exchange, large domestic iron ore producers and the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) were informed about the establishment of the platform and didn't raise any objection.
The platform will post the prices for successful trades online without identifying buyers or sellers - a decision intended to improve the accuracy and reliability of price statistics.
An industry analyst who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the trading platform would be fairer than the inquiry system, now used by most companies, because the new one will be based on successful transactions.
Also, since price formation will be based on buyers, sellers and actual demand, China can gain more influence in the world iron ore market as the biggest iron ore importer in the world.
In recent years, many financial organizations and local exchanges have prepared to launch iron ore trading platforms, and CISA itself began to publish an iron ore index last month.
Liang said it would take time to see which pricing system was more accepted by the market.