New Delhi, Oct 17 - India's largest commodity exchange MCX on October 17 launched options trading in gold with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley describing it as one of the steps towards formalising gold trade in the country.
"This marks a very important evolution in trading of the yellow metal itself. It hedges all risks by giving traders the option of futures," Jaitley said after launching the options trade at a ceremony.
To start with, the options trading will be available on a 1 kg gold futures contract. The contracts will expire in November and in January 2018.
"Indians are great buyers of gold. This new product will be extremely successful," he said.
The festival of Dhanteras is being celebrated on Tuesday, which people observe by purchase or gift of precious metals like gold and silver.
"I am sure the more it formalises, better it is for consumers, jewellers and those trading in this. That's in consonance with the business environment for future that we see for us," Jaitley said.
Commodities and capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), allowed MCX in August to launch options trading in gold. MCX currently offers futures trade in gold and other commodities.
Depending on the success of the gold options, MCX said it will seek the regulator's permission for options trade in other commodities like cotton, crude palm oil, silver and copper.
"After 3-6 months, we will decide after looking at the success of the gold options," MCX Chief Executive Mrugank Paranjape told reporters.
"As per the Sebi rule, options trade is allowed in a commodity which has certain volumes in futures trade. We have 7-8 commodities like cotton, CPO, crude, silver, zinc and copper which qualify," he said.
According to Paranjape, gold is the first product for options trading allowed by Sebi after 14 years of commodity exchanges in the country.
"Fundamentally, it is an extremely low-cost product. However, as an introductory measure, we are not charging any transaction fee on this product till December," he added.
"Options would complement the existing array of commodity futures contracts and help in enriching the informational efficiency of the market's price discovery process. It gives market participants great flexibility to manage risk and achieve their trading objectives," MCX Chairman Saurabh Chandra said.
He also said that in order to further strengthen the market, NITI Aayog has set up a committee to look into integrating the spot and derivative markets. Another committee set up by the Finance Ministry is looking at ways to transform the gold market.
Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa and Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council Chairman Bibek Debroy were also present at the event.