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Singapore Exchange Undaunted by Hong Kong Derivatives Competition

Singapore Exchange shares tumbled after Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing won regulatory approval to launch its first derivatives product based on mainland Chinese shares

Hong Kong Exchange suffered a 27% fall in profit in the first half of 2022.
HKEX owns the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, plus the Hong Kong Futures Exchange and the London Metal Exchange. China's economic slowdown and Covid woes, plus geopolitical tension with the US has hit listing and trading. Photo: Reuters.

Singapore Exchange’s (SGX) Chinese index futures will remain the main tool for investors to hedge their Chinese exposure despite the Hong Kong bourse announcing a rival product, its head of equities said.

SGX shares have lost 6% this week after Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) won regulatory approval last week to launch its first derivatives product based on mainland Chinese shares, intensifying competition with SGX. The move pushed up HKEX’s shares by 5%.

SGX’s FTSE China A50 futures, which are traded almost round-the-clock, is one of its key contracts, accounting for 53% of its total equity derivatives volume in the year to June 2021.

The two exchanges are increasingly competing for business as HKEX seeks to diversify its revenues away from fees from share trading and expand further into derivatives, a traditional strength for SGX.

But the Singapore bourse says its China derivatives strategy of offering currency, commodities and equity derivatives for global customers, along with clearing services, means its flagship FTSE China A50 futures product, will remain popular.

Index providers are listing their products everywhere and so these days it’s more about the platform than the product, Michael Syn, head of equities at SGX, said this week.

SGX also offers equity derivatives pegged to Taiwan, Japan and Indian markets. Syn said SGX still had a 95% market share of Taiwan index futures trading even after its long-running partnership with MSCI to provide many derivative products ended and MSCI signed a new agreement with HKEX last year.

The MSCI Taiwan index futures was one of them and SGX launched an alternative FTSE Taiwan index futures contract in July 2020, ahead of the shift to the Hong Kong bourse. Both exchanges are betting on sustained growth in Chinese derivatives as international investors in China seek to manage their risks.

“China futures volume as a proportion of the stock market is still in its very early stages,” Syn said. ”Our waterfront is all in China – China currency, China commodities, Chinese equities.”

•By Reuters and Kevin Hamlin


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Kevin Hamlin

Kevin Hamlin is a financial journalist with extensive experience covering Asia. Before joining Asia Financial, Kevin worked for Bloomberg News, spending 12 years as Senior China Economy Reporter in Beijing. Prior to that, he was Asia Bureau Chief of Institutional Investor for ten years.


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