The fever that’s gripped Chinese commodity markets is easing.
Speculators who traded 1.7 trillion yuan ($261 billion) futures in a single day last month have retreated as fast as they advanced. Trading volumes across the nation’s three biggest exchanges are more than half of what they were at their peak on April 22 and back to levels similar to a year ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The amount of money changing hands on a daily basis has shrunk to $114 billion.
The slowdown marks a return toward normality after a frenzy that drew comparisons with the credit-driven stock market rally last year that preceded a $5 trillion rout. Investor appetite has waned after the exchanges raised transaction fees and margins amid orders from regulators to limit speculation.
“It’s pretty crazy to see such a quick move in trading volumes, compared with historical levels,” Zhang Yu, an analyst with Yongan Futures Co., said by phone from Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province. “Some investors are exiting after the exchanges’ measures.”
About 34 million contracts of everything from eggs to steel changed hands on the Dalian Commodity Exchange, Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange and Shanghai Futures Exchange on Wednesday, down from a peak of 80.6 million contracts seven sessions earlier. About 33 million contracts were traded at the end of April a year before. Chinese exchanges include both sides of a transaction in market data.