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China to launch crude oil futures on March 26

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-02-09 20:20

BEIJING - China will launch the long-awaited crude oil futures contract on March 26 at the Shanghai International Energy Exchange (INE), the country's top securities regulator said Friday.

Preparations for the launch of the oil futures have almost been completed, Chang Depeng, spokesperson for the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), told a press conference.

The move marks a comeback as the country set up a petroleum exchange in the early 1990s but soon closed trading due to reform and market factors.

According to the standardized future contract published by the Shanghai International Energy Exchange in 2017, the re-opened crude oil futures will be traded in lot sizes of 1,000 barrels. The daily price change limit is set at 4 percent from previous settlement, and the margin rate is 5 percent of contract value.

Analysts believe the Shanghai crude will be able to compete for the benchmark in the Asia-Pacific region, and hopefully become part of the 24-hour global trading system together with Brent and WTI futures.

"The Asia-Pacific region has surpassed America and Europe in crude consumption, but a benchmark with high recognition is still missing. With growing import, China has long been able to join the competition," said Wu Libo, a professor at Fudan University.

Dong Dandan, a senior researcher at Foresee Fund, said the launch of the Shanghai crude futures will likely increase the trading volume and asset positions in New York and London due to possible arbitrage trading.

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