Crude Falls on Growing Inventories

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The current global standards are London-trade Brent futures, and West Texas Intermediate (WTI), which is traded in NY.

Supply curbs by Opec, Russia and their allies have helped push Brent above US$70 this year for the second time since late 2014, but analysts said this strength may not persist long.

Brent and WTI, in contrast, were down by that time, weighed down by concerns over a looming US trade dispute with China. An industry report was said to show that US crude inventories rose 5.32 million barrels last week, more than six times higher than the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey before Wednesday's government data.

"The fact that the government is encouraging the exchange and also is not shy about stepping in to occasionally change the rules may discourage global players", Brown said.

Skeptics argue that hurdles such as capital controls, regulatory risk and market intervention in other Chinese securities have made investors cynical about the prospect of Shanghai futures becoming a regional price-setter. Swiss-based commodity trader Trafigura, U.S. -based Freepoint and independent refiner Shandong Wonfull were other early participants.

Ren Wei of South China Morning Post highlighted that China's recent move became possible due to the fact that the country had emerged as the largest oil importer in 2017, surpassing the United States.

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On the first trading day, the 15 listed crude oil contracts changed hands in a total of 42,300 transactions. Singapore-based brokerage Straits Financial Services said it brokered the first trade for Shanghai crude futures for Glencore and cleared the deal through Xinhu Futures.

Crude oil futures slipped on Monday, but losses were capped by a rebound in stock markets and escalating Saudi-Iran tensions. Barclays Research analysts said they expected the supply deficit of the past few months to give way to a surplus on rising US output.

Futures for September settlement opened at 440 yuan a barrel, up from a reference price of 416 yuan.

United States shipments, which benefited from OPEC supply cuts and rebounding crude oil prices, averaged 153,000 bpd past year. Spot Shanghai crude futures were down by 4.2 per cent on Wednesday, to 408.3 yuan ($65.04) per barrel by 0357 GMT.

Specific issues for traders include Shanghai's shorter trading hours, split into three slots, with the afternoon session ending at 3:00 p.m. local time (0700 GMT), just before London ramps up. Some 18,540 lots have reportedly been sold and purchased so far.