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China to launch crude oil futures this year: Xinhua

Reuters) - China is expected to begin trading in crude oil futures within the year, a senior government official said on Wednesday, as the world's second-largest oil consumer and crude buyer aims to increase its say in oil pricing.

"Within this year, China will launch an international crude oil futures market, the third such market in the world after the United States and the United Kingdom," state news agency Xinhua quoted Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, as saying.

He said most of China's new demand for crude oil is now met by imports, adding that Chinese imports accounted for 70 to 80 percent of newly added global oil production.

Local media said plans for crude oil future trading on the Shanghai Futures Exchange have been completed and are awaiting the approval of Chinese authorities.

Authorities are currently deciding between two competing plans, one which would establish dollar-denominated contracts and another with contracts denominated in yuan.

China crude oil imports rose 6 percent on year to 253.78 million metric tonnes, or about 5.08 million bpd, in 2011, official data shows.

Besides crude oil, China is expected to launch government bond and silver futures this year, Xinhua said.

The government is also studying the possibility of launching futures trading in agricultural products such as live hogs, late-season rice, eggs and potatoes, Guo was quoted as saying.

Currently, copper, aluminum, gold, and fuel oil futures, among others, are traded on the Shanghai Futures Exchange.

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