It appears the Chinese commodity markets have returned to normalcy.
After last month’s frenzy of trading that saw speculators trade 1.7 trillion yuan ($261 billion) futures in a single day, trading volumes across the nation’s three biggest exchanges are more than half of the April 22 peak and back to levels similar to a year ago, around $114 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
In a move to avoid repeating last summer’s credit-driven stock rally and subsequent $5 trillion rout, the exchanges instituted higher transaction fees and margins amid orders from regulators to limit speculation.
On Wednesday, about 34 million contracts of everything from eggs to steel changed hands on the Dalian Commodity Exchange, Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange and Shanghai Futures Exchange, a huge drop from the peak of 80.6 million contracts seven sessions earlier. At the end of April 2015, about 33 million contracts were traded.
Some commodities have seen reduced turnover and short-term trading, showing that monitoring and regulatory moves to cool the market have worked and prevented risks, an official at the Dalian Commodity Exchange told Bloomberg, asking not to be identified because of internal policy.
The commodities rally began in early March in anticipation of supply reform and growing demand.
According to Bloomberg, steel reinforcement bar in Shanghai jumped 38% through April 21, its highest level since September 2014. On April 25, hard coking coal futures rose the most on record on April 25 and cotton had its biggest single-day advance in five years.
Even though the prices have come off their peaks, they haven’t collapsed.
Steel futures fell 15% since their peak, but are still almost 20% higher that at the start of March and coking coal is up .