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“DCE is currently preparing an application for the launch of the iron ore futures contract, and is also modifying the design of the contract and the compatible system in the meantime,” a source with the exchange told Steel First.

“We hope to launch the iron ore futures contract before early November this year, if everything goes well,” he added.

Market participants, especially steel mills, have shown interest in the contract, as they want to hedge against price fluctuation, the source said.

“The introduction of iron ore futures provides a better way for price discovery to occur by inviting more market participants to join in the pricing process,” an iron ore trader in Shanghai said.

The DCE received the go-ahead from the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) to develop its iron ore futures contract in October 2012.

“The resignation of ambitious reformer Guo Shuqing as chairman of CSRC in March led to some uncertainties on whether DCE’s iron ore contract could debut on time,” an industry source in Beijing said.

“But the new head Xiao Gang is also said to be a reformer,” the source was quick to add.

The Singapore Exchange launched its iron ore futures contract earlier this week, but it ended the first trading day with no trades.

The exchange launched the contract in a move to retain US participants as the country tightens up its over-the-counter trading rules.

The DCE has two steel-related contracts that are being traded. It launched its coke contract in early 2011 and coking coal contract in March this year.