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Sebi Open to FII Play in Commodity F&O

The Securities and Exchange Board of India, which took charge of regulating the commodities derivatives market on Monday , said it is open to allowing foreign portfolio investors to trade in this segment. The capital market regulator also wants to introduce options trading in commodities.

“There is no reason why participants like banks and foreign portfolio investors that are not allowed today should not be allowed,“ said Sebi chairman UK Sinha at an event in Mumbai to mark the merger of Forwards Market Commission(FMC) -India's commodity market regulator-with Sebi that was attended by finance minister Arun Jaitley . “There is no reason why options trading should not be allowed in commodity derivatives market“.

Sinha declined to comment on when Sebi planned to allow foreigners to trade in commodities derivatives on local bourses. “I would like to mention that our immediate priority will be to take stock of the and ensure that there is trust in the market about the way regulatory environment is going to evolve. Once we are sure that we have achieved this task, there will be series of measures for the development of the market,“ Sinha said. At present, there are three national and six regional bourses for commodity futures in the country. Together, all the exchanges clocked a turnover of Rs.60 lakh crore in 2014-15, nearly from over Rs.101 lakh crore in the previous fiscal. Sebi has created a separate Commodity Cell and has set up new departments for regulation of commodities derivatives market.

The formal merger between the two regulators has aligned India with several other developed two regulators has aligned India with several other developed countries that have a unified regulatory system for both securities and commodities market.

“The merger will lead to better convergence of price from the physical market into the derivatives market. We will focus on pooling of prices in a more transparent manner. But we will be very cautious in our approach,“ Sinha said.

Jaitley said, “the merger will increase the economies of scope and scale as there are strong commonalities between all kinds of trading“.

Jaitley said that since the physical market for commodities was widespread, fragmented and unregulated for certain goods, Sebi needs to have a proper mechanism to capture any aberrations in the physical market that would disrupt the derivatives market.

Shaktikanta Das, secretary, department of economic affairs, Ministry of finance, said that the merger will bring in some unique challenges for Sebi since it has to delve into the space with dual regulation.

The Economic Times, New Delhi,28th Sept. 2015

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