A statement by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) indicates that Beijing is encouraging state-owned firms to challenge foreign banks over derivative contract losses, the Wall Street Journal reported. In the statement, SASAC – which oversees 150 major state-owned enterprises (SOEs) that fall under central government control – said such a challenge would be "a very normal action for enterprises to use legal tools to protect their deserved rights in commercial activities." A number of SOEs have suffered heavy losses on derivative contracts. They include China Eastern Airlines, which lost US$900 million through bad fuel hedging bets as global oil prices plunged last year. Observers said Beijing’s public encouragement of challenges to foreign banks had raised the risks of dealing with Chinese state-owned firms, and was a sign that Beijing felt its strategic interests extended to overseas financial markets. Some expect Beijing to encourage or require foreign banks to offer derivates through domestic financial institutions where it can more easily regulate them.
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