* Bourse begins copper trading ahead of guided 2020 timeline
* Total of 641.86 tonnes of rod traded on first day
* QME already traded alumina, aluminium products (Adds detail, background)
By Tom Daly
BEIJING, Aug 23 (Reuters) - The Qianhai Mercantile Exchange (QME), a mainland China spot commodities platform owned by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd, said it started trading in copper rods on Friday, adding to existing trade of alumina and aluminium products.
A total of 641.86 tonnes of copper rods changed hands on the first day of trade, with a turnover of 29.94 million yuan ($4.23 million) and five domestic market participants, the Shenzhen-based QME said in a statement on its website.
HKEx, which also owns the London Metal Exchange, wants the QME, located just 50 kms (30 miles) from Hong Kong, to give it much coveted access to the world’s largest copper market, and is also in talks with the authorities in the southern Guangdong province about LME warehousing in mainland China.
“In the future, the QME copper rod price will gradually cover the main copper rod consumption areas” the statement said, adding the exchange would work hard to make it become an important national indicator for spot trade.
The copper rod launch marks the second time the QME has rolled out products ahead of guidance. Trading in aluminium ingots and billets began in late June, after HKEx Chief Executive Charles Li said in May he planned to launch those in the third quarter. He also said at that time copper trading on the QME would begin “probably next year”.
The QME opened in October 2018 with trading in alumina, the substance used to make aluminium. Its trading hours are from 0900-1530 (0100-0730 GMT), Monday to Friday.
$1 = 7.0790 Chinese yuan Reporting by Tom Daly, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Emelia Sithole-Matarise