Just days after Beijing officially launched Yuan-denominated crude oil futures (with a bang, as shown in the chart below, surpassing Brent trading volume) which are expected to quickly become the third global price benchmark along Brent and WTI, China took the next major step in the challenging the Dollar’s supremacy as global reserve currency (and internationalizing the Yuan) when on Thursday Reuters reported that China took the first steps to paying for crude oil imports in its own currency instead of the US Dollars.
A pilot program for yuan payment could be launched as soon as the second half of the year and regulators have already asked some financial institutions to “prepare for pricing crude imports in the yuan“, Reuters sourcesreveal.
According to the proposed plan, Beijing would start with purchases from Russia and Angola, two nations which, like China, are keen to break the dollar’s global dominance. They are also two of the top suppliers of crude oil to China, along with Saudi Arabia.
A change in the default crude oil transactional currency – which for decades has been the “Petrodollar”, blessing the US with global reserve currency status – would have monumental consequences for capital allocations and trade flows, not to mention geopolitics: as Reuters notes, a shift in just a small part of global oil trade into the yuan is potentially huge. “Oil is the world’s most traded commodity, with an annual trade value of around $14 trillion, roughly equivalent to China’s gross domestic product last year.” Currently, virtually all global crude oil trading is in dollars, barring an estimated 1 per cent in other currencies. This is the basis of US dominance in the world economy.
However, as shown in the chart below which follows the first few days of Chinese oil futures trading, this status quo may be changing fast.
Superficially, for China it would be a matter of nationalistic pride to see oil trade transact in Yuan: “Being the biggest buyer of oil, it’s only natural for China to push for the usage of yuan for payment settlement. This will also improve the yuan liquidity in the global market,” said one of the people briefed on the matter by Chinese authorities.
There are other considerations behind the launch of the Yuan-denominated oil contract as Goldman explains:
- A commercial benchmark and hedging tool. Until now, Chinese oil imports were based on FOB benchmarks, with long-term procurement contracts settling off Platts Oman/Dubai or Dated Brent. The INE contract has therefore the potential to become the pricing reference for CIF China crude oil, enabling corporate financial hedging. Its warehouse structure is however likely to limit its use for physical crude delivery and may in fact at times reduce its hedge efficiency.
- A new investment vehicle for onshore investors. The majority of China commodity futures trading volumes are from retail investors, yet these had until now little ability to trade oil futures. China’s capital control was the main bottleneck to trading contracts like Brent as authorities only allow $50,000 outflow a year per person. While several petrochemical and bitumen contracts already trade in China, INE will be the first contract for crude oil, likely drawing significant interest.
- Direct access to China’s commodity markets for offshore investors. China offers deep and liquid commodity markets to its onshore investors. Due to China’s tight capital controls, however, foreign investors have so far only been able to trade these through qualified onshore subsidiaries. The INE contract opens up the first channel for offshore investors to trade in its onshore commodity market, with both the USD deposit and capital gains transferable back to offshore accounts. The government further announced last week that it would waive income taxes for foreign investors trading these new contracts for the first three years. The obligation to trade in Yuan will also add a currency risk exposure to offshore investors. We illustrate in Exhibit 6 a likely template (amongst others) of how overseas investors will be able to access INE liquidity….
It would be a gross error to blame this on china. The neocons in washington have labored intensively for this to happen for the past 25 years. It might be tempting to attribute it to incompetence and random corruption, until you put it together with the export of american jobs, the abandonment of our infrastructure, the war on american children via vaccines, obstetrical abuse, circumcision, psych and street drugs and public slave education, and the fact that the western puppetmasters will make out like bandits when the SHTF, as they did in the great ripoff of the 30’s, when they murdered 7 million americans through starvation. http://thoughtcrimeradio.net/2015/02/milton-friedman-on-the-origins-of-the-great-ripoff/
Putin’s message has been loud and clear: they will not allow the satanists in washington to destroy russia, and they apparently have the means to prevent it. American military superiority is a mirage, designed to lead sheep to the slaughter. It would suit the central bankers fine if russia was taken out in the process, but the USA is the primary target.
The enemy is within the gates.