This key trading event took place on Shanghai's International Energy Exchange. Trading volumes of the main contract achieved 13.4 billion yuan.
The chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, Liu Shiyu claimed at the launching ceremony that the start of the contract completely corresponds to the orders from the government work report. This country is known as the biggest oil importer in the world. In 2017 China produced over 600 million tons of oil. Approximately 70 percent of it was imported. China can receive benefits from its own standard trading in yuan, that would bring it greater influence over pricing by the 2 established benchmarks - the Brent crude (London) and West Texas Intermediate (New York).
Wang Kong, a finance professor at the China Europe International Business School, declared that the third alternative benchmark will be able to enlarge the oil futures`liquidity as well as the efficiency of the oil market in the whole. China will become a part of the global oil price institution. Middle Eastern oil has been more costly in Asia than in Europe: it was termed by economists as the “Asian Premium”. China was in lack of a benchmark which would better display market conditions in Asia. It is supposed that the new contract will help to address this situation.
This is the first in China yuan-denominated futures contract which is open to foreign companies (investment funds, trading houses, and petroleum firms). JP Morgan, the investment bank joins the exchange in order to provide brokerage services for traders.
According to the analysts, the new benchmark will soon have to pass its first examination - the lack of liquidity. The Chinese government has started to let non-state establishments to participate in crude oil imports in recent years, but the sector remains strongly dominated by the state giants.
About 413 organizations were presented in the trading on Monday, and more international players are expected to come in and trade. Analysts demand that China would need to deal with other countries to figure out regulatory points, as the contract should become more attractive to the international players. So the new standard will take time to grow and strengthen.