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

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

Goldman Sachs speak out on proposed CFTC regulation

Reuters has a story in which Goldman Sachs chief financial officer David Viniar says the bank’s energy trading is hedging and should be exempt from proposed U.S. government limits on the volume of contracts that speculators can trade. READ HERE

CFTC hopeful of new regulation by late October

A follow up story by Reuters about the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s process and plans for regulating excessive speculation in the commodity market.

For those who have not been following this story, the CFTC’s moves are part of the Obama administration’s plans to tighten U.S. financial regulation and prevent another banking and market crisis.  Critics have  argued the global financial meltdown over the past several months was caused by laxity in the financial markets:

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission will move aggressively to rein in excessive speculation in energy and commodity markets by focusing on expanding its existing authority and could have new regulations in place by late October.

Bart Chilton, one of five commissioners at the CFTC, said he could not predict what the agency will do, but he would like to see the proposed rules issued in September, then implemented by late October or November after a period of public comment. READ HERE

As a keen supporter of tighter regulation on the commodity exchnge,  Commodify Me! will be following the develpoments of this story with great interest and will be providing comment once details of the CFTC’s plans are a little clearer.

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?