Dubai Mercantile Exchange crude contracts reach new record

New Asian contracts cata­pulted Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME) crude contracts to a new record.

There was an 11 per cent increase in trading volumes year-to-date on the futures and energy exchange, setting a new record for physical delivery, DME said .

On Thursday there were 10 million contracts of Omani crude traded on the DME, bringing the total of traded crude to 10 billion barrels since its inception eight years ago. Volumes hit more than 27 million barrels in March alone.

“DME is witnessing strong interest from new players in Asia,” said Ahmad Sharaf, the DME chairman. He added that the DME caters to more than 90 firms worldwide.

DME this month welcomed its first independent Chinese refiner, Shandong Chambroad Petrochemicals, which will trade Oman crude oil futures on the exchange. The refiner will use the futures contract for risk management and physical procurement.

DME is seeking to attract more Chinese independent refiners at a time when China is diversifying its reliance on Middle East crude to other countries.

Strong demand from China has been a mainstay for the region’s crude oil, but players are changing as the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts weaker growth in demand this year at 3 per cent, compared to over 6 per cent the previous year.

The IEA said in its oil market report released last month that India was a potential replacement as the main growth area. “Revised data for late 2015 and early data for 2016 shows year-on-year growth of approxi­mately 8 per cent,” the report said. The energy watchdog expects India to grow about 300,000 barrels per day, its strongest volume increase.

lgraves@thenational.ae

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