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China, the world’s largest crude oil buyer, started trading Monday of the first yuan-denominated oil futures trading contract on the Shanghai International Energy Exchange.

Why it matters: It’s a move by the energy-hungry nation to bolster its influence over pricing. "The aim is to wrest some control, away from US dollar-based international benchmarks, such as the West Texas Intermediate and Brent markers, so that prices reflect as closely as possible the crudes processed by Chinese refineries," per the Financial Times.

Early results: “The most actively traded futures contract due for delivery in September closed up 3.3% at 429.9 yuan ($68.07) per barrel...after opening up more than 6% from a starting reference point of 416 yuan per barrel,” The Wall Street Journal reports from Shanghai.

What’s next: A note Monday from Wood Mackenzie looks at the potential influence. “As a start, we expect more influence on Basrah Light and Oman prices as they account for a significant portion of the contract volumes. China imports about 600 kb/d of Oman crude,” per research director Sushant Gupta.

  • “In the longer term, the futures exchange will enable China's crude-buying patterns to become more transparent to the world. Prices assessed at the Shanghai exchange will reflect China's crude supply and demand. They could also become a reference for China's crude market, which is likely to start having a bigger influence on global crude prices,” Gupta writes.

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Photo: Bandar Algaloud / Saudi Kingdom Council / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has released an unclassified report assessing that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) approved the operation to "capture or kill" Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

Driving the news: The White House also announced sanctions on entities implicated in the murder, though not on MBS directly. Officials also announced a new "Khashoggi ban" under which individuals accused of harassing journalists or dissidents outside their borders can be barred from entering the U.S.

About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says

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Nearly 1 in 5 adults and nearly half of Americans 65 and older have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, White House senior adviser Andy Slavitt said on Friday.

The big picture: The Biden administration has previously said it has secured enough doses to vaccinate most of the American population by the end of July.

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