China currently has seven kinds of commodity futures and options open to direct participation by international investors. [Photo/CFP] China's drive to open its futures markets to the outside world has gathered pace with an ultimate goal to serve the real economy amid the country's efforts to seek high-quality development. China currently has seven kinds of commodity futures and options open to direct participation by international investors, after overseas investors were allowed to participate in the futures trading of a type of palm oil on Dec 22. This came right after China launched the listing and trading of bonded copper futures contracts on Nov 19, which are open to global traders. The China Securities Regulatory Commission, the country's top securities regulator, said on Friday it will further expand the scope of specific futures varieties, enhance the participation of overseas traders and support overseas financial institutions in controlling or holding a stake in domestic futures firms. The futures market can sharpen its competitive edge amid the internationalization while attracting more global investors, CSRC Vice-Chairman Fang Xinghai said at a news conference on Dec 19. The opening-up of the sector can boost China's pricing power in key commodities markets, said Luo Xufeng, chairman of Nanhua Futures Co Ltd. China has fast-tracked the opening-up of the futures market this year, with new rules making it easier for international investors to trade in China's markets. The country removed foreign ownership limits for foreign-invested securities companies, fund management firms and futures companies at the beginning of this year. The top securities regulator in June granted approval allowing J.P.Morgan Futures Co Ltd to become the country's first wholly foreign-owned futures trading firm. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the launch of China's futures market, which has developed quickly in recent years. At the end of November, funds in China's futures market had exceeded 855.95 billion yuan ($130.48 billion), up 55.2 percent year-on-year, CSRC data showed. Meanwhile, the turnover in China's futures market reached 382.5 trillion yuan from January to November, up 45.5 percent year-on-year, according to CSRC data. The commodity futures available to international investors, like crude oil and iron ore futures, have been operating smoothly. In Shanghai, the transshipment business of crude oil based on Shanghai crude oil futures price has expanded to the South Korea, Singapore and other regions. The iron ore futures trading on the Dalian Commodity Exchange has attracted about 270 overseas investors from 21 countries and regions. Though China's futures market has made remarkable progress, it still needs to improve market mechanisms, products, rules and infrastructure, while boosting its pricing power on key commodities to better serve the high-quality development of the economy, Fang said.