That possibly changed on Monday, as China saw the launch of Shanghai crude oil futures.
In Asia, Shanghai crude oil futures debuted strongly in terms of volume as investors and commodity merchants bought into the world's newest financial oil trading instrument.
China's yuan-denominated crude oil futures have launched in Shanghai, and were up sharply in the first day of trading. "Rightly so, China would want to play a more active role in influencing the price of crude oil".
Trade tensions appeared to ease a bit on Monday, however, as The Wall Street Journal reported (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-china-said-to-be-talking-behind-the-scene-to-avoid-trade-war-2018-03-25) that China and the us have quietly started negotiating to improve USA access to Chinese markets.
Brent and WTI, in contrast, were down by that time, weighed down by concerns over a looming USA trade dispute with China.
Nearly 15.4 million barrels of Shanghai's most-active September contract changed hands in the 2-1/2-hour morning session to 11:30 a.m. (0330 GMT). "This view is based on the simple fact that non-Opec oil supply growth will trump the increase in global oil demand this year", PVM Oil Associates analyst Tamas Varga said.
WTI crude for May delivery fell as much as $0.87 - the third straight day of declines - to $64.38/bbl on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and traded at $64.59 in London. Looking at reactions in markets, crude oil prices strengthened following the EIA report. Brent is priced off of North Sea oil and is a primary value marker for Europe, Africa and Middle East crudes. "The fact that the government is encouraging the exchange and also is not shy about stepping in to occasionally change the rules may discourage worldwide players", said Jeff Brown, president of energy consultancy FGE.
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.
On the other hand, global stocks, which have proven to be a significant influence on crude prices, came off six-week lows due to expectations that the USA and China will soon begin trade talks rather than undertake an all-out trade war. "Anything lower than expectations will turn around weakness that we're seeing today". Chinese trader Unipec told Reuters it was the counterparty for the Glencore deal.
"This was exacerbated by an appreciating USA dollar and an unexpected 5.3 million barrel rise in United States crude oil stocks last week, as reported by the API after close of trading yesterday".
Reports the USA was considering a crackdown on Chinese investment also sent stocks tumbling, stoking trade war fears again, sources said.
USA shipments, which benefited from OPEC supply cuts and rebounding crude oil prices, averaged 153,000 bpd previous year.
The price of Brent hit $71 per barrel in the middle of January, despite surging production by the United States, which is offset by the production cuts led by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russian Federation.
The first trading session saw a total of 62,500 contracts with more than 62 million barrels of crude traded for a notional volume of almost 27 billion yuan ($4 billion), Zerohedge reports.
At the end of afternoon session, Shanghai prices were up 3.34 percent at 430.2 yuan, with 40,656 lots traded.
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