Increased energy market supervision; CFTC regulation

There is an interesting story by Reuters about how the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the U.K’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) have announced they will closely moniter energy markets.

The story also details some of the CFTC’s plans to tighten commodity trading rules, including position limits in U.S. futures markets and sujecting more  over-the-counter derivatives subject to mandatory clearing.

Under the proposal, the  CFCT and FSA will:

  • increase information sharing and cooperation in surveillance of oil markets
  • enhance direct access rights to trade execution and audit trail data
  • share exchange regulations and disciplinary notices.

The story includes comment from CFTC chairman Gary Gensler:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. and U.K. regulators moved on Thursday to increase supervision of energy markets while Washington also detailed new initiatives to tighten the rules in commodities trading.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the U.K. Financial Services Authority announced the steps, which include closer auditing and mutual on-site visits of exchange operators, to gain a better view of trading in U.S. oil futures on the IntercontinentalExchange’s (ICE.N) London exchange. READ MORE

Recap of first CFTC hearing into speculation

Commodify Me! has been busy with the daily grind of life and would like to apologise for not posting this sooner.

Anyway, as we all know, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission held the first of its three hearings last week looking at ways to curb excessive speculation in oil, gas and other engery markets.

The New York Times provides a nice summary of the first day’s proceedings:

The country’s top regulator of commodity markets said Tuesday that the government should “seriously consider” strict limits on the trades of purely financial investors in the futures markets for oil, natural gas and other energy products.  READ HERE.

And CNNMoney.com provides a summary of day two:

Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler sounded even more convinced Wednesday that trading limits must be imposed on speculative energy traders, and he found support from two of the biggest financial players in commodities markets.”No longer must we debate the issue of whether or not to set position limits,” Gensler said during the second day of CFTC hearings on excessive speculation in the energy markets. He added that the only remaining questions are how to go about it. READ MORE.

CNNMoney.com also has comments from big commodity players, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, both of who had representatives speak at the hearings:

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) came out in favor of position limits both on and off exchanges in a hearing before the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Wednesday.But the bank wants exemptions maintained for swap dealers that help commodity end users buy and sell derivatives to reduce their exposure to price fluctuations. JPMorgan’s views closely matched those of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), which also had a representative at the hearing. READ MORE.

You might also like to read the Seattle Times and the Houston Chronicle.

Gary Gensler interview

The Los Angeles Times has done an interview with Gary Gensler, the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) that’s worth a read:

Gary Gensler once fought against tighter rules while serving in the Clinton administration. Now he’s urging strict rules for the contracts as head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. READ MORE

U.S. Senator takes aim at commodity index traders

The Maine Public Broadcasting Network has a brief story about U.S. Senator Susan Collins telling the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) chair Gary Gensler that index traders are distorting markets for wheat, oil and other commodities.

Collins has introduced the Commodity Speculation Reform Act, which would limit the number of contracts that non-commercial investors could hold in any one commodity market. READ HERE.

 

CFTC considering restrictions on wheat trades

The Associated Press has a story about the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) considering restrictions in the wheat futures market after a year-long investigation by the investigative panel of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee raised concerns that excessive speculation has artificially inflated prices, hampering risk management by farmers and grain processors. READ HERE

Brodsky calls for merger of CFTC and SEC

Reuters has a story about William Brodsky, CEO of the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), saying in a written statement there’s a “compelling need” to merge the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Brodsky was scheduled to testify at a House of Representatives Financial Services Committee hearing on Friday about the Obama administration’s plan to reshape financial regulation amid the worst banking and capital markets crisis in generations. READ HERE.

Speculators accounted for 71% of oil contracts of the NYMEX

Reuters have obtained statistics from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) which shows that speculators accounted for 71% of the benchmark oil contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), the world’s largest for energy trading, as of April 2008.

The story also looks at what impact the proposed regulation by CFTC chairman Gary Gensler could have on big players like Goldman Sachs, which has made a killing from speculating on oil trading:

Fewer than one out of every 10 barrels of oil traded on U.S. futures exchanges gets delivered to consumers, an equation that may change under sweeping new restrictions being weighed by the government’s top commodities regulator.

With plans to curb speculation in energy trading, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission chairman Gary Gensler could push banks and funds, which now buy and sell the lion’s share of oil and gas contracts, to seek opportunities elsewhere, industry watchers say. READ HERE