In an attempt to reshape the global oil market, the Shanghai International Energy Exchange has launched the first crude futures contracts priced in Chinese renminbi, or yuan.

China, the world's biggest oil importer buys around nine million barrels of oil every day and it wants to use its own currency to price the world's most-traded commodity.

The US dollar has been the main currency for oil futures contracts, so launching a contract in its domestic currency is a sign that China wants the yuan to play a bigger role in global oil trading.

China is also taking on the world's most used oil benchmarks, Brent and WTI crude, which are both priced in dollars. But Shanghai-traded oil is still far away from earning benchmark status and taking on the petrodollar won't be easy.

"For now, it doesn't mean many changes. Oil is still going to trade in the US dollar, but increasingly over time, there will be more transactions ... but this is not a gamechanger, yet," Michal Meidan, Asia analyst for Energy Aspects, tells Counting the Cost.

"The goal is for China to establish an Asian benchmark that will reflect Chinese consumption and more broadly Asian demand patterns", but he believes "it's highly unlikely" that the yuan will challenge the dollar in the near future.

Meidan explains that the Chinese yuan would have to become "freely convertible, we would need other countries to open up to settlement in the renminbi; but the primary issue will be currency convertibility. And for now, the Chinese government is very reluctant to loosen currency controls and to give it up to free trade."

"It's unlikely China will loosen the reigns on their currency", says Meidan, "It's very hard to see that happening in the coming five years. They still have a lot of domestic challenges that they need to meet and the government and Xi Jinping are in agreement that the state and the party needs a very firm control over that [currency]. If liberalisation was the trend in the 1990s, I think we're very much seeing a reversal of that. China is very much willing to become a global player, but under its own terms. And whether the global market or global investors are happy to take that on - I think we're not seeing a huge amount of appetite for that yet."

Also on this episode of Counting the Cost:

Tech giants: Technology stocks have had a dramatic week. At one point the so-called "FANG" stocks of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google saw their worst one-day loss as a group. But by Thursday, they managed to end the quarter higher. It's all because the business models of tech titans like Facebook have been getting more attention from regulators

Micro-targeting: Facebook is promising to end partnerships with several data brokers that help advertisers target people on the social network. The company is trying to limit the fallout from allegations that the British firm, Cambridge Analytica, improperly accessed user data to influence the 2016 US elections, as Jonah Hull reports from London.

Amazon tax: Reports that US President Donald Trump is looking to change the way online retailer Amazon is regulated sent its share price plummeting earlier this week. At one point stocks fell by as much as 7.4 percent, wiping more than $50bn from Amazon's market value. Katia Lopez-Hodoyan reports from Washington, DC.

Saudi solar: Saudi Arabia and Japan's Softbank signed up to a $200bn solar mega-plan. It will feature the biggest battery ever made and networks of solar panels across the Saudi Arabian desert. But several analysts cautioned the current agreement is not binding and could be revised.

Somalia tax: Anger is growing from consumers in Somalia over the rising cost of shopping and eating out. It's because of the five percent sales tax, the first sales tax in nearly 30 years. The government says the levy is crucial for Somalia's economic recovery, as Mohammed Adow reports from Mogadishu.

Africa CEO Forum: The annual Africa CEO Forum's two-day event held in Ivory Coast featured discussion and debate around the economic and industrial challenges facing the African continent. It comes just one week after the leaders of 44 African countries signed a framework deal to create one of the world's largest free trade blocs. But Nigeria and South Africa, two of the continent's biggest economies have yet to sign up.

Cyprus tourism: Tourism is booming in Cyprus, as the island works to recover from a damaging financial crisis five years go. Not all areas, though, are reaping the rewards of those seeking sunnier shores. And so the government is launching an initiative to revive tourist towns up in the mountains, as Sami Zeidan reports from Kakopetria.

Source: Al Jazeera News