The listed futures at the Shanghai Futures Exchange are eight contracts to be delivered from February to September of 2020. Their benchmark prices were set at 15,585 yuan (about 2,203.6 U.S. dollars) a tonne.
On the first day of trading, the futures settled a trading volume of 195,240 lots with a turnover of about 15.2 billion yuan (about 2.15 billion U.S. dollars).
The most active ss2002 contract for February 2020 delivery edged down 10 yuan to close at 15,575 yuan per tonne in daytime trading.
The launch of the stainless steel futures helps provide an open, continuous and transparent price signal and an effective risk management tool for companies in the industrial chain, said Jiang Yan, chairman of the Shanghai Futures Exchange.
It also will help enhance the price-setting power of the country, the world's largest stainless steel producer and consumer, in the global stainless steel market, said Jiang.
China witnessed a rapid growing stainless steel industry, with its production reaching 26.7 million tonnes in 2018, accounting for over half of the global output. The country became a net stainless steel exporter in 2010, reversing from the world's largest importer.
Su Weizhong, deputy secretary general of the China Iron and Steel Association, said the launch of the stainless steel futures will help form a fair and open pricing system and enhance China's influence in global price setting of the special steel.
The new contracts will also implement a basket of risk-hedging tools for the whole steel industry. China has launched a number of futures for ferrous metals and industrial materials, including steel rebar, hot-rolled coils, iron ore, coke and coking coal.
The construction steel rebar futures, which are also listed in Shanghai, have become the most active futures worldwide for five consecutive years, with a trading volume of 3.3 million lots on Wednesday.
Jiang said that Shanghai will push forward the listing of a greater variety of futures, including low-sulfur fuel oil, alumina, ferrochrome, cold-rolled sheet and natural gas, as well as their derivatives, in a bid to better serve the real economy.
"We will also speed up the opening up of the futures market for international investors and explore new paths for current futures products to go global," said Jiang.