At 9am today China launched its first ever yuan-denominated oil futures contract in Shanghai, Bloomberg reports, hoping to widen its influence over the pricing of barrels sold into Asia.
Barrels opened at RMB416 ($66) on the Shanghai International Energy Exchange and have since climbed. Each contract is for a volume of 1,000 barrels and seven oil grades will be made deliverable against it, such as Dubai crude and Chinese Shengli crude.
China became the world’s largest oil importer in 2017, buying 8.4m barrels a day next to the US’s 7.9m. The contracts, open to foreign investors, have been long-anticipated since China’s first listing attempt in 1993. Futures trading will confer some control over pricing from the main international benchmarks which are based in dollars, whilst also strengthening the global importance of the yuan.