Oil eases back from 2018 highs above $70 a barrel

Weekly Oil Markets Recap - Running Out Of Toilet Paper

Geopolitical Risk Drives Oil Prices Higher

China's crude oil futures will be a major step in Beijing's years-long push to win greater sway over oil pricing, but for western traders it will likely bring frustration as well as opportunity.

LONDON-Oil prices edged down Wednesday on the back of an unexpected rise in US crude stockpiles and a strengthening USA dollar.

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.

"This was exacerbated by an appreciating USA dollar and an unexpected 5.3 million barrel rise in United States crude oil stocks last week, as reported by the API after close of trading yesterday".

Concerns of a looming trade dispute between the United States and China had also weighed on global markets.

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The first ever yuan-denominated crude-oil futures had a successful first day of trading yesterday, as China looks to expand its influence in the Asian oil sphere by establishing a new local benchmark.

West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery fell as much as 69 cents to $64.56 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and traded at $64.68 at 2:46 p.m.in Singapore.

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

Martin said he expects a "gentle" start from overseas, though, because foreign investors have to overcome some regulatory hurdles in gaining access to the market. With this, the country, which is also the world's largest buyer of crude oil is trying to gain more control over pricing, challenging European and U.S. benchmarks.

As a result of these tight reins on the new market segment, some analysts believe global investors would be discouraged to tap the Shanghai oil futures.

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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.

For China's regulators, the hope is that the futures will serve as a risk management tool for its oil companies, act as a price reference for industry participants, as well as help open the country's financial markets.

WTI is now trading above $64.60.

At 0316 GMT, Shanghai's September contract was down 1.43 percent at 427.6 yuan ($68.33) per barrel.

Chinese exchanges count each side of a trade - the buy and the sell - as two lots, meaning the total oil changing hands was 15,371 lots, equal to 15.37 million barrels.

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