Hong Kong-listed mainland information provider HC International is teaming up with Britain's Reed Business Information to supply data and analyses on Chinese and international fuel oil markets. Demand for China-specific oil information is rising with increasing oil imports and the launch of a domestic fuel oil futures market. Under the information and revenue-sharing arrangement officially signed in Beijing yesterday, the two firms will jointly publish daily and weekly reports and analyses on fuel oil markets, both spot and futures, in English and Chinese. HC360, the e-commerce arm of HC International, has a staff of 60, including about 30 analysts, covering the domestic fuel oil market, said Yang Ruijun, general manager of HC360's petroleum section. The partnership will also strengthen its coverage of international oil markets. Already covering other mainland markets through a team in Shanghai, Reed plans to use the new partnership to promote international fuel oil market analysis to mainland companies, said Reed managing director Iain Melville. The partnership, to be called ICIS-LOR, will also supply mainland market information to Reed's international clients. Although Reuters and Bloomberg already supply news and data to Chinese firms, one mainland futures brokerage executive said he hoped the new venture could offer more targeted information to and forecasts for the fuel oil markets. China was the world's second-largest petroleum consumer after the United States, importing more than 100 million tonnes of crude oil last year, HC International said. Its strong appetite for oil imports on the back of an economy galloping ahead at 9.5 per cent annually contributed to the surge in international oil prices last year. Against such a backdrop, the Shanghai Futures Exchange in August last year introduced fuel oil futures, hoping to help domestic companies hedge against market risks and give the mainland a greater say in the international market. HC International officials argued the improved reports could help avoid a repeat of the China Aviation Oil (Singapore) scandal, in which the company holding the monopoly over fuel oil import to China lost US$550 million in wrong bets on the derivatives market.