Business / Markets

Shanghai to float oil futures contract in RMB

By Gao Changxin (China Daily) Updated: 2014-03-12 07:22

The Shanghai Futures Exchange is ready to roll out the country's first yuan-denominated crude oil futures, which it hopes will become a benchmark in Asia before gaining global influence.

Yang Maijun, the bourse's chairman, said foreign investors will be allowed to trade in the contract without setting up a local subsidiary.

Similar contracts for non-ferrous metals, precious metals and natural rubber will follow suit.

The bourse has finished all "technical preparations", Yang said, and is awaiting regulatory approval from the government on the groundbreaking contract.

Shanghai to float oil futures contract in RMB

Shanghai to float oil futures contract in RMB

"China is the world's biggest oil importer, a major consumer and producer. It's only natural the country should have more influence on global oil prices," said Yang in an interview at the ongoing "two sessions" of the nation's top legislatures.

He didn't give an exact date for the launch but said he is "full of confidence" that the contract will hit the market later this year.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission said on Feb 28 that a policy framework for the new oil futures has been pinned down, and it will guide the Shanghai Future Exchange in its preparations.

China overtook the United States last September to become the world's biggest net oil importer.

The US Energy Information Administration said in a report published Feb 4 that China's surpassing the US in oil imports is due in part to China's rising oil consumption.

China accounted for one-third of the world's oil consumption growth in 2013, and EIA projects the same share in 2014.

The EIA forecast China's oil consumption to continue growing at a moderate pace to approximately 11.1 million barrels per day this year.

It said the nation's net oil imports will probably reach 6.6 million barrels a day compared with the US' 5.5 million barrels a day.

Despite its growing presence in international oil trade, China's sway on prices has been negligible.

Global oil trade currently is priced off future prices quoted by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Intercontinental Exchange in London.

It's widely believed that China's stringent control over foreign capital has stifled the futures market's growth by limiting involvement of overseas investors.

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