Bank of China Ltd.’s estimate for the carnage to retail investors from the collapse in a product linked to U.S. crude oil futures has surged 11-fold to more than 7 billion yuan ($1 billion) as it consolidated reports from its nationwide network, according to people familiar with the matter.
The lender’s estimate of losses to customers across China increased from about600 million yuan in the middle of last week as more information was gathered from its over 10,000 outlets, said the people, asking not to be identified discussing a private matter. The number isn’t final and subject to further changes as the lender examines the data from its branches, one of the people said.
The losses stem from the bank settling May West Texas Intermediate contracts that underpinned its “Crude Oil Treasure” product on April 20 at minus $37.63 a barrel, leaving Bank of China customers caught in the middle of oil’sunprecedented collapse below zero. Hundreds have taken to the Internet to protest the lender’s handling of the contract rollover and to demand it shoulder some of the losses.
Bank of China declined to comment. It hasn’t disclosed the size or performance of “Crude Oil Treasure” since launching the product in January 2018.
Bank of China suspended trading in the product last week. China’s biggest banks includingChina Construction Bank Corp. andBank of Communications Co. also halted sales of similar vehicles that had become a popular way for individuals to speculate on swings in oil.
More than 60,000 clients have invested in Bank of China’s product, Caixinreported, adding that investors have lost their margins of 4.2 billion and owed the bank a further 5.8 billion yuan.
— With assistance by Alfred Cang, Zheng Li, and Jun Luo
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