The Korea Herald


Carbon market flops in first month

By Chung Joo-won

Published : Feb. 11, 2015 - 18:44

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Korea’s emissions rights exchange has remained dormant since its launch last month, as companies refrained from trading, data showed on Wednesday.

Since its opening on Jan. 12, total trading volume stood at just 11.5 million won ($10,500), or 1,380 tons of carbon credits, Korea Exchange reported.

Actual trading occurred on only four days, the main bourse operator said.

The trading volume was the largest on the first day at 9.74 million won, or 1,190 tons. For the next two days, however, the volume fell steeply, to 475,000 won, or 50 tons, on Jan. 13 and 951,000 won on Jan. 14.

The total trade is a tiny fraction of the combined 15.98 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions quotas that were allocated to the 525 state-designated companies affected by the market’s introduction.

The trading’s slow start was anticipated by the exchange operator, KRX.

A week before the market’s launch, KRX vice president Yoon Suk-yoon said in a press briefing that the market would only pick up in March 2016, when the authorities finalize emissions rights allocations.

Now the companies are turning to legal options to secure greater emissions rights before the March 2016 deadline.

A total of 243 companies, or 46.3 percent of the 525 participating companies, objected to their share of the emissions rights, but only 40 of them were given larger quotas.

Last month, 17 nonmetal manufacturers and related companies filed an administrative lawsuit. The petrochemical companies are also joining forces in a similar class action suit.

Despite the friction, the KRX is optimistic about the carbon exchange’s long-term outlook.

“We expect that trading will regain vitality once the corporate objection period is officially over,” a KRX official said.

By Chung Joo-won (