-Trade in Chinese stock index futures will begin April 16, the China Financial Futures Exchange (CFFEX) said Friday in a statement on its website.

The CFFEX released the statement straight after the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the country’s securities watchdog, gave official approval for the launch of a stock index futures contract tracking the Shanghai-based CFFEX Hushen 300 Index.

The Hushen 300 Index, which covers about one fifth of all stocks listed on China’s stock markets and about 60 percent of the markets’ value, mainly reflects the performance of China’s Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets.

Contracts for May, June, September and December will be the first to trade, according to the statement.

Investors are required to put down cash deposits equal to 15 percent of the contract value for the May and June contracts as a maintenance margin. For the September and December contracts, the margin is 18 percent.

A 0.05 percent transaction fee will be levied on the total turnover, the statement said.

On Jan. 8 the State Council approved “in principle” the launch of stock index futures and a margin-trading pilot program in a move to further develop China's financial markets.

Investors began applying for the trading account in late February and are required to have a minimum 500,000 yuan (73,206 U.S. dollars) to open an account.

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