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Strong debut for Chinese oil futures

29 March 2018

China kicked off its first ever crude futures on Monday.

According to Wei, this activity is especially important amid the US-Chinese row over the Trump administration's new high tariffs on Chinese imports, which is largely seen as nothing short of a trade war between Beijing and Washington.

Saudi Arabia regained its No. 2 ranking after losing out to Angola in January, with February supplies coming in at 4.635 million tonnes, or 1.21 million bpd, down 2.9 percent on year but up from 1.01 million bpd in January.

Looking at crude oil's newest Chinese benchmark, the commodity is now trading between Brent and WTI prices.

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 United States, which is not participating in the deal.

About 19 foreign brokers had registered to trade the contracts as of last week, the exchange said.

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"Prices assessed at the Shanghai exchange will reflect China's crude supply and demand", said Sushant Gupta, research director at energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

"The fact that the government is encouraging the exchange and also is not shy about stepping in to occasionally change the rules may discourage global players", Brown said.

Still, China offers the potential for a deep, liquid market, buoyed by an explosion of interest from mom-and-pop investors that has supported its vast commodities derivative markets from apples to iron ore in Shanghai, Zhengzhou and Dalian.

"As things stand, it is a question of when, not if, the US withdraws from the agreement and fires a fresh sanctions salvo towards the OPEC nation", Stephen Brennock, an analyst at PVM Oil Associates Ltd., wrote about the Iran deal.

In Asia, Shanghai crude oil futures posted high volumes and volatile trade on their third day of trading.

"We were active with Glencore today and I've seen Trafigura in it and Freepoint".

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Geopolitics and the expectation of the world's largest exporters controlling supply have helped push Brent above $70 this year for the second time since late 2014, but analysts said this strength might not persist for long.

The early involvement of big global players was a morale boost to the fledging market, but state oil majors like PetroChina and Sinopec are expected to provide a significant amount of liquidity in the long term.

Reports the U.S. was considering a crackdown on Chinese investment also sent stocks tumbling, stoking trade war fears again, sources said.

In dollar-terms, that puts Chinese crude prices significantly below Brent and only slightly above US WTI. That compares with around 3,500 lots across the whole of the Brent price structure.

Within minutes of the launch, the price had gone up to nearly US$70.85 (447 yuan) from a starting price of US$69.94 (440.4 yuan) per barrel. "For the moment it is looking like both WTI and Brent are stalling", said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at futures brokerage AxiTrader.

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Strong debut for Chinese oil futures