SHANGHAI, March 30 (Xinhua) -- The price of the main contract of China's crude oil futures settled at 420.3 yuan (76 U.S. dollars) on Friday, 4.3 yuan higher than its listed benchmark price at 416 yuan per barrel.
On Friday, the Shanghai International Energy Exchange (INE) recorded a total of 58,824 transactions of 15 listed crude oil futures contracts, 16,448 more than the first trading day level on Monday.
China launched trading of crude oil futures contracts on Monday in its steady moves to further open up the financial sector.
As the first futures contracts listed on the Chinese mainland to overseas investors, the trading volume gradually increased during the first week with a total of 278,234 transactions, worth 115.92 billion yuan, changing hands by the end of the week.
By Friday, INE had registered over 20,000 trading accounts, among which 25 percent were institutional accounts, and the rest were held by individuals.
"Individual investors made considerable liquidity and showed skills in risk management," said Sun Yonggang, analyst with Chaos Ternary Futures Co., Ltd.
A total of 23 overseas agencies have registered with the INE to provide brokerage services for overseas investors. Analysts said that the futures have shown its price-discovery function and connection with the international market, as the prices of the main contract SC1809 were mostly between the prices of London and New York crude oil markets this week.
On Thursday, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for May delivery posted at 64.94 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for May delivery closed at 70.27 U.S. dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange. While, INE's main contract closed at 409.7 yuan (about 65 U.S. dollars).
After the U.S. Energy Information Administration released the latest inventory data Wednesday, which rose more than expected, the pricing of INE contracts fell on Thursday, said Xiang Chao, analyst with Yongan Futures Co. Ltd.
The financial market showed concerns about trade friction between China and the U.S., causing crude oil prices to move up and down frequently, said Xiao Wei, analyst with CCB futures.
He predicted that with the improvement of liquidity and investors' structure, the market expectation will be better reflected through the Shanghai crude oil futures.
According to China Securities Journal, the INE prices will be the valuation benchmark of physical deliveries made by Shell to China International United Petroleum & Chemicals Co., Ltd. from September.