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China's crude futures set for March 26 launch

New biggest oil importer takes aim at dollar's supremacy in crude market

China surpassed the U.S. as the largest importer of crude oil last year.   © Reuters

SHANGHAI -- China will open trading of crude oil futures in redbacks to domestic and international investors March 26, the country's securities regulatory commission said Friday, a move aimed at expanding its influence over the pricing of the global oil market.

China surpassed the U.S. as the world's top crude importer last year, but international market prices tend not to reflect the nation's internal supply and demand. The Asian country aims to change that by creating a yuan-based benchmark based on oil sourced from the Middle East, challenging existing standards such as West Texas Intermediate in the U.S. and Brent crude in London.

The futures will be listed on the Shanghai International Energy Exchange, under the Shanghai Futures Exchange. As a first for China's futures markets, foreign investors will be allowed to take part in trading.

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