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Option the Dragon: Stock Options set for launch in China

On August 6, 2013, Chinese securities companies received ‘the notice of preparing the initiating stock options full simulating trading works’ sent by the Shanghai Stock Exchange. This information implies that SHSE is already fully prepared for the launching of stock options. Although there is no clear timetable for launching the stock options, it is likely that they will appear in Chinese capital markets in 2013 or 2014.

Exchange traded stock options are new to Chinese capital markets and these derivatives provide a number of benefits. For one, both long and short-term trading are accessible and, similar to other derivatives such as futures, t+0 is allowed. Another benefit, which is an advantage over futures, is that leverage is provided but buyers can only lose the amount that they paid for the option. Options traders can also execute more complicated strategies through the combination of buying and selling call and put options, including straddles and spreads. Moreover, stock options are perfect hedging tools for individual stocks. Currently, Chinese stock index futures can only hedge the risks of the CSI 300 index and can not directly hedge non-systematic risks from individual stock options. And, despite providing leverage, security companies charge high transaction fees and interest rates for customers interested in selling short and buying long. Furthermore, the introduction of stock options comes with a high minimum threshold, which may largely change the structure of investors in the stock market by increasing the proportion of institutional investors. Thus the introduction of stock options may largely change the landscape of Chinese stock markets and may stimulate trading volumes.

However, there are also potential problems and doubts from the public that my come with the introduction of Chinese stock options. One issue regards the minimum threshold for investors of stock options. Some market analysts estimate that this threshold could be as high as one million yuan, which is higher than thresholds for index futures and securities lending services from securities companies. Currently, only 1% of accounts in the stock market can meet this requirement. Critics argue that stock options may serve as a tool to short the market by institutional investors and rich individuals, who may be in a disadvantaged position. But there are also analysts stating that the threshold may be lower, which would give normal individual investors a better opportunity to participate. The minimum threshold will depend on the final decision from CSRC.

Another problem has to do with the underlying stock that stock options are based upon. Currently, it seems as though only very large blue chip listed companies can enjoy stock options, so not all stocks can be optioned. Because large-cap stocks fluctuate less dramatically than small-cap and medium-cap stocks, the meaning of stock options may not be as transparent as in the fully opened western markets. But for institutional investors like mutual funds, as large-cap stocks take larger proportions of their shares, stock options may be an ideal hedging tool for stabilizing the performance of their portfolios. As current stock markets have adopted t+0 and t+1 trading, short-term day trade for hedging is not feasible. Thus traders may either choose longer-term hedging strategies or speculate through high-frequency intra-day trading.

Furthermore, large amounts of speculation in stock options may lead to dramatic fluctuations in stock prices. Similar to trades within A-share markets, the cost of short-selling is much higher than longing the stocks. So under the current unbalanced system, both hedgers and speculators may choose short in the stock options and the performance of A-share markets in the future may weaken. This has already been proven from the stock index future’s impact on A-share stock markets.

In conclusion, despite the risks, the launching of stock options is important for the development of Chinese capital markets.

Source: KapronAsia, 20.08.2013

Filed under: Asia, China, Exchanges, News, Risk Management, , , , , , , ,

EUREX Group and Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) in Technology Alliance

Eurex Group and the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) announced today that they have agreed to deepen their strategic partnership through a long-term technology alliance under which BSE will join the Eurex technology roadmap and deploy Deutsche Börse Group’s trading architecture in a first step. BSE aims to replace its derivatives market platform in the course of 2013 and plans to subsequently replace also its cash market platform. This agreement is an important step in further developing the strategic partnership between Eurex and BSE.

The new partnership in the technology sphere will allow BSE to quickly achieve the highest global standards for speed, reliability and order-handling capacity. It will bring to BSE state-of-the art levels of capacity and latency, already in place at the International Securities Exchange (ISE) since summer 2011 and in roll-out at Eurex Exchange. By aligning BSE, Eurex Exchange and ISE markets on a common trading infrastructure, IT costs for shared customers will be significantly reduced. This will also reduce technology development and installation efforts for Eurex and ISE members who wish to connect to BSE and vice versa as well as strengthen the case for cross-listing.

“We expect our technology alliance with Eurex will help BSE to compete more effectively in India, to help us attract more international participants into our marketplace and improve our market share in derivatives and equity trading,” said Ashish Chauhan, MD and CEO of BSE. “It will quickly put BSE into the Premier League of exchanges in terms of the performance of our matching engine and overall technology infrastructure.”

“This technology alliance strengthens our long-term partnership with BSE, and is another milestone in our Asian strategic roadmap, in which India obviously plays an important role. This technology alliance also contributes to growing our global liquidity network, based on common market infrastructure, for the benefit of both our partners and our members,” said Andreas Preuss, CEO of Eurex and Deputy CEO of Deutsche Börse AG.

Source: MondoVision, 12.03.2013

Filed under: Asia, Exchanges, India, Trading Technology, , , , , , , ,