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Futures contracts are financial risk management tools that enable companies to hedge their price risk exposure by agreeing to buy, or sell, a particular volume of product for delivery on a fixed future date, at a price agreed today.
Futures trading has been around for a long time and is used by many different industries, including most non-ferrous metals.
TSI is the only iron ore index used in cleared Over-the-Counter (OTC) swap contracts. Singapore Exchange (SGX) launched the world’s first clearing of iron ore swap contracts on 27 April 2009 and LCH.Clearnet has announced it will begin clearing iron ore swap contracts before the end of this month. Both use exclusively TSI’s iron ore reference price for 62% Fe fines delivered to China for settlement.
For steel however, futures contracts are currently available on 6 different exchanges.
The London Metals Exchange (LME) launched two steel futures contracts for rebar-quality square billet in April 2008. One contract is for Asia Pacific and the other for the Mediterranean region. Both have now merged. These are deliverable contracts with LME approved warehouse delivery points for 65 tonne lots of Chinese 20 SiMn grade HRB500 billet or Russian GOST 380-94 grade 5sp/ps from exchange-approved mills. The contracts were launched on 28 April 2008, following a soft launch on 25 February 2008 allowing electronic and telephone trading to commence. Visit www.lme.com for more information.
The Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange (DGCX) launched a rebar futures contract on 29 October 2007. The rebar contract is a deliverable contract for 10 tonne lots of BS4449 (1997) W460B Type 2 rebar from exchange-approved mills. Visit www.dgcx.ae for more information.
Two steel futures contracts are currently available in India. The country's National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX) offers a small steel ingot contract and the Multi Commodity Exchange of India (MCX) offers a HRC and ingot contract. Trading on these contracts is understood to be very limited. Visit www.ncdex.com and www.mcxindia.com respectively for more information.
The Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) launched futures trading of rebar and wire rod on 27th March 2009. The contract size for both products is 10 deliverable tonnes, listed for 6 consecutive months. Visit http://www.shfe.com.cn/ for more information.
The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group launched US Midwest domestic hot rolled coil steel futures contracts on October 19, 2008 for trading and clearing on CME Globex and NYMEX ClearPort from October 20, 2008. The CME contracts are financially-settled against a reference price for US Midwest domestic hot rolled coil. The contract size is 20 short tons with a minimum price fluctuation of $0.50 per short ton and is listed for 18 consecutive months. Visit www.cmegroup.com for more information.
These and other exchanges are understood to be examining the opportunity to launch more products and regions, based on demand, in the near future.
As a consequence of its robust price collection and calculation processes, The Steel Index provides independent, impartial and fully verifiable weekly steel reference prices that can be used as the settlement prices for financially-settled steel futures contracts and Over-The-Counter (OTC) forward price risk management products.