China, US trade dispute weighs on prices


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

Financial oil markets have always been dominated by Europe's Brent and America's WTI.

In the 4-hourly timeframe, WTI failed to break the January highs of 66.50. While global stockpiles are tightening in a sign that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies' production cuts are working, fears still remain that surging USA production could thwart those efforts.

The skeptics say that capital controls, regulatory risks, and state intervention in other Chinese securities have made investors distrustful about the possibility that Shanghai futures will become a regional factor for pricing. Swiss-based commodity trader Trafigura, U.S. -based Freepoint and independent refiner Shandong Wonfull were other early participants.

State-run Sinopec Corp, Asia's top refiner, said last month it expected to boost its USA crude oil imports this year to more than 10 million tonnes, or 200,000 bpd.

The price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, was moving erratically before the start of USA trading.

"With US crude production likely to be close to 10.5 million bpd by now and NGL (natural gas liquids) output also increasing strongly, there is a clear chance that year-on-year supply growth in the US could at least temporarily hit 2 million bpd over the summer months", JBC said. Singapore-based brokerage Straits Financial Services said it brokered the first trade for Shanghai crude futures for Glencore and cleared the deal through Xinhu Futures.

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McKenna said he hoped Shanghai crude "gets a lot of traction and we end up with three established global benchmarks", but he cautioned that "the first couple of days have been volatile".

The most-active September contract opened at 440.4 yuan per barrel from a reference point of 416 yuan, and jumped to as high as 447.1 yuan in the first few minutes.

WTI is now trading above $64.60.

The decision to extend the production cuts has seen crude oil prices rising, but a major factor countering efforts by OPEC and Russian Federation is United States oil production which has soared and is fast approaching 10 million bpd.

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The contract for September delivery slipped on the Shanghai International Energy Exchange after closing at 429.9 yuan a barrel in its debut on Monday.