nsucurrent.com April 24, 2018

Middle Eastern Tensions Drive Up Oil Prices

29 March 2018, 01:55 | Ruby West

China's first oil futures off to a flying start as Beijing vies for pricing power

China’s Attempts to Supplant Dollar Face Historic Difficulties

The first ever yuan-denominated crude-oil futures had a successful first day of trading yesterday, as China looks to expand its influence in the Asian oil sphere by establishing a new local benchmark. With this, the country, which is also the world's largest buyer of crude oil is trying to gain more control over pricing, challenging European and U.S. benchmarks. A resurgence in risk appetite has helped lift markets from global equities to commodities after a report the Trump administration is to be urging China to lower tariffs as part of talks to resolve rising trade tensions.

Nearly 40.7 million barrels of oil changed hands via the September contract during Monday's five-hour session, according to data from the Shanghai Futures Exchange. We expect China's crude import requirements to grow by about 2.1M b/d from 2017 to 2023, much larger than any other country's incremental requirements. West Texas Intermediate, the USA benchmark, was down 0.46 percent to $65.58 per barrel.

With oil prices above $60, Russian Federation had earlier before the extension of the output cuts, expressed concern that an extension for the whole of 2018 could prompt a spike in crude production in the U.S., which is not participating in the deal. Brent is priced off of North Sea oil and is a primary value marker for Europe, Africa and Middle East crudes. The contracts, which are open to foreign investors, end years of delays and setbacks since China's first attempt to list the securities in 1993. Prices assessed at the Shanghai exchange will reflect China's crude supply and demand.

Initially, U.S. dollars may be used as deposit and for settlement, and in the future, more currencies will be used as deposit.

But that "comes as Shanghai crude oil futures made a strong debut and was well received by investors", Kapadia said in emailed commentary.

Despite this, Brown said there were concerns over regulatory interference, as seen in other Chinese financial commodity markets, including iron ore and coal.

Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage Oanda in Singapore, said there was "considerable resistance" to extending the deal as current, or higher, prices could entice even more U.S. shale producers to come back online. Chinese trader Unipec told Reuters it was the counterparty for the Glencore deal.

It past year surpassed the U.S. as the world's biggest buyer of foreign oil.

This could be seen as competition to the Dubai Mercantile Exchange's (DME) crude futures and potentially the assessments published by price reporting agency S&P Global Platts.

Brent crude oil dropped below the key $70 a barrel level today after a shock rise in United States crude stockpiles.

The most-active September contract opened at 440.4 yuan ($69.78) per barrel versus a reference point of 416 yuan, jumping as high as 447.1 yuan ($70.85) in the first few minutes. WTI futures fell 40 cents to $64.85 a barrel.

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