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China seeks to solidify oil future

The successful launch of the long-awaited Shanghai oil futures contract showed it is gaining sway in global energy markets

After nearly six years of speculation, rumours and declared intentions, the Shanghai International Energy Exchange (INE) finally launched China's first-ever oil futures contract on 26 March. It comes at a crucial time for domestic oil demand. February inventory-adjusted demand was up 660,000 barrels a day year-on-year, while production averaged 3.76m b/d in January and February, according to the China State Statistics Bureau. That's down 130,000 b/d—or 3.4%—year-on-year, almost flat from December figures and level with August 2017's record lows. Those figures suggest that the Shanghai futures contract couldn't have been better timed: with the INE contract open to international market partic

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