China has made no secret of wanting to cut its dependence on the U.S. dollar. Few officials have said directly that they want the yuan to challenge the dollar for global supremacy. Yet they have made their intent clear to observers, as seen with this week's debut of yuan-denominated oil futures trading in Shanghai.
Through decades of explosive economic growth, China continued to heavily restrict the cross-border use of the yuan such that even in 2010, its movements were probably no freer than they had been 30 years before. Then things started to change.