China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have lost billions of dollars in losses related to commodity price or foreign exchange trading over the past year, Reuters reported. Although a few of the most recent cases appear to have been simply bad luck on hedging markets at the peak, other instances have been blamed on a “rogue” element – a risk manager, a lone trader – who was operating beyond his mandate. The mounting losses have caused Beijing to crack down on all forms of overseas derivatives trading. In response, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) launched legislation that requires all SOEs engaged in trading derivatives to make quarterly reports about their investment situations. Kuang Yongsheng, an official from SASAC said, "We don’t want to see them diverge their core businesses to speculate in the financial market." One recent example happened in January of 2009 when three of China’s largest airlines, Air China, Shanghai Airlines and China Eastern, collectively lost a reported US$1.94 billion on aviation fuel hedging contracts, according to state media.
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