SHANGHAI, March 26 (Xinhua) -- China on Monday launched trading of the yuan-denominated crude oil futures contracts at the Shanghai International Energy Exchange, which is the first futures listed on China's mainland to overseas investors.
The listed futures for trading are contracts to be delivered from September this year to March 2019. The benchmark prices of 15 contracts were set at 416 yuan (65.8 U.S. dollars), 388 yuan and 375 yuan per barrel, varied by delivery dates.
Li Qiang, Shanghai's Party chief, and Liu Shiyu, chairman of China Securities Regulatory Commission, together rang the gong to open the trading session.
The opening price of the SC1809 contract started at 440 yuan per barrel.
Twenty minutes after the opening, 14,000 transactions were changed hands.
Trading margins for the futures are set at 7 percent of the contract value. The upward and downward trading limits are at 5 percent, with the trading limits on the first trading day set at 10 percent of the benchmark prices.
Overseas investors can invest in the future contracts through various measures. At the beginning, U. S. dollars can be used as deposit and for settlement. In the future, more currencies will be used as deposit.
"China is the world's largest importer of crude oil and the introduction of RMB-denominated crude oil futures contract represents a milestone for China's Futures Market," said David Martin, Asia Pacific Head of Global Clearing at J.P. Morgan.