* Launch may take place before 19th National Congress -
* Exchange says it is "actively preparing" for launch
By Florence Tan and Chen Aizhu
SINGAPORE/BEIJING, April 18 China is looking at
launching its crude oil futures in Shanghai in the second half
of this year, two sources familiar with the matter said,
breathing new life into a derivative that was considered shelved
only months ago.
The contract is aimed at giving China, world's
second-largest oil consumer after the United States, clout in
pricing crude in Asia, and a share of the trillions of dollars
in oil futures trade that flow through global benchmarks Brent
and West Texas Intermediate.
Shanghai's International Energy Exchange (INE) last year was
close to launching the futures contract, which was approved in
2014 after years of planning, but its plans were shelved after
volatility in domestic stock and commodities markets spooked
The sources were unclear when the contract would actually
start to trade.
"In the second half of this year, maybe in September or
October," one of the sources said, adding it could take place
before the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of
China, where a change of guard under President Xi Jinping will
The second source said the launch could happen earlier,
possibly in July or August.
It was not immediately clear what factors prompted the
An INE spokeswoman did not give a definitive start date,
saying, "We are actively preparing and are striving to launch
the product as soon as possible."
Crude oil sold in Asia is mainly priced against the Dubai,
Oman and dated Brent benchmarks assessed by S&P Global Platts
or the Oman crude futures on Dubai Mercantile Exchange.
(Reporting by Florence Tan in SINGAPORE and Chen Aizhu in