On March 26th，China 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, 388 yuan and 375 yuan per barrel, varied by delivery dates.
The opening price of the SC1809 contract started at 440 yuan per barrel. Just 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, US 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. It is expected to become a competitive benchmark crude with West Texas Intermediate (WTI), Brent Blend, and Dubai Crude, which are three primary benchmarks in the world.
我国是目前世界上最大的原油进口国，推出以人民币定价的原油期货对于我国的期货市场具有里程碑式的意义。中国的原油期货将有望与当前世界上主要定价机制——西德克萨斯轻质原油（West Texas Intermediate）、北海布伦特原油（Brent Blend）、以及迪拜原油（Dubai Crude）形成有力的竞争。
What’s in the Barrel?
Petroleum is a naturally occurring, yellow-to-black liquid found in geological formations beneath the Earth's surface. It is commonly refined into various types of fuels. Components of petroleum are separated using a technique called fractional distillation, the separation of a liquid mixture into fractions differing in boiling point by means of distillation, typically using a fractionating column.
Petroleum consists of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other organic compounds. The name petroleum covers both naturally occurring unprocessed crude oil and petroleum products that are made up of refined crude oil. A fossil fuel, petroleum is formed when large quantities of dead organisms, usually zooplankton and algae, are buried underneath sedimentary rock and subjected to both intense heat and pressure.
Petroleum has mostly been recovered by oil drilling. It is refined and separated, most easily by distillation, into a large number of consumer products, from gasoline and kerosene to asphalt and chemical reagents used to make plastics and pharmaceuticals.
Concern over the depletion of the earth's finite reserves of oil, and the effect this would have on a society dependent on it, is a concept known as peak oil. The use of fossil fuels, such as petroleum, has a negative impact on Earth's biosphere, damaging ecosystems through events such as oil spills and releasing a range of pollutants into the air. The burning of fossil fuels plays a major role in the current episode of global warming. However, despite the countless problems, petroleum will continue to be a major source of energy instead of newly developed, still immature new energies.
futures: n. 期货
trading margin: 交易保证金
zooplankton: n. 浮游生物
biosphere: n. 生物圈