With the launch of Shanghai's new rubber futures, China has taken another step forward to embrace and advocate an open economy despite growing protectionist sentiment fueled by the U.S. hegemonic moves.
China on Monday started the trading of yuan-denominated natural rubber futures, the TSR 20 futures, which is open to overseas investors, at the Shanghai International Energy Exchange.
Largely produced in Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia and Thailand, natural rubber TSR 20 is a main raw material for tires and its consumption has become a major indicator of the technical prowess of a country's tire industry.
Jiang Yan, chairman of the Shanghai Futures Exchange, said the launch of TSR 20 trading will promote risk management in related industries using the futures market and form a multi-layer system interconnecting domestic and overseas markets.
Fang Xinghai, vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said China had taken a variety of measures to optimize the opening-up of its commodities futures market and seen growing involvement of foreign investors.
As the Sino-U.S. trade tensions continue to escalate, he said it was important to speed up financial opening-up, bond Chinese and foreign investors through shared interests and be inextricably interwoven with one another in the global financial market to repel overseas attempts to stop China's development.
The official said it was also necessary to quicken the yuan's internationalization through a wider opening-up of China's financial market to cope with hegemony in the international monetary system.
After the U.S. administration labeled China as "a currency manipulator," threatening to take the trade war into the financial realm, several Chinese financial officials have on different occasions expressed the country's stance not to bow to external pressure but maintain strategic confidence in the handling of its own affairs.
Pan Gongsheng, head of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, reiterated in a signed article that China's established policy of deepening reforms and expanding opening-up would not be changed despite the U.S. accusation.
The 'currency manipulator' accusation was part of U.S. strategy to escalate trade frictions, reflecting the opacity and arbitrariness of U.S. policy decisions, Pan said.
It would not change the continuity and stability of China's foreign exchange policies, and the country would keep expanding its financial sector, he said.
"We expect no disorderly devaluations of the RMB, and the forex market will return to where it is in line with economic fundamentals after temporary fluctuations, thanks to the resilience and potential of the Chinese economy," said Pan.
Pan's comments echoed the tone-setting July meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, which called for the implementation of a variety of major opening-up policies.
China's central bank in its work conference for the second half (H2) urged further opening-up of the financial market through easing market access, steadily promoting capital account opening and expanding RMB cross-border payments.
The latest opening-up progress included an overall plan for the new Lingang area of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, weight increases of China's A-shares in the MSCI indexes and a shortened negative list scheduled to be revised before the end of September.
Such efforts shored up the market expectations that policy support for financial opening-up would be intensified in H2.
Analysts expected China's financial regulators to prudently and orderly promote capital account opening, expand pilot areas of trade payment facilitation and the yuan internationalization.
"China is confident and capable to effectively cope with external impacts, safeguard the stability of the forex market and promote the steady and healthy development of the financial market," Pan said.