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

Senate probe finds excessive speculation in wheat markets

A story by Reuters about a U.S. Senate report finding excessive speculation in wheat markets:

Commodity index traders had snapped up more than 200,000 wheat contracts by mid-2008 that helped fuel last year’s record jump in prices, which ended up raising costs for both industry and consumers, according to a  year-long bipartisan Senate probe.

The report found large wheat purchases on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange pushed up futures prices, disrupted convergence between futures and cash prices and increased costs for farmers, the grain industry and consumers. READ HERE.

And for those diehard fans of Commodify Me! who are also interested to see what impact speculation and the ensuing speculative bubble had on oil prices in 2008, then please read the transcript of a 60 Minutes story on CBS :  Did Speculation Fuel Oil Price Swings?