China Ends 25-Year Wait as Yuan Oil Futures to Start Trading

After a wait of about a quarter of a century, the world’s biggest oil buyer is finally getting its own crude-futures contract.

In a challenge to the world’s dollar-denominated oil benchmarks Brent and West Texas Intermediate, China will list local-currency crude futures in Shanghai on March 26, according to the nation’s securities regulator. The start of trading, open to foreigners, will mark the end of years of delays and setbacks since China’s first attempt at a domestic contract in 1993.

If the futures are embraced by overseas investors and become a benchmark for global oil transactions, China’s hoping the yuan could challenge the dominance of the greenback in international trade. Still, skeptics say that won’t happen as long as the currency is controlled by the central government, and while international traders may agree to settle contracts converted into yuan, they’ll continue to price the oil in dollars.

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