Aluminium prices up 30%

Financial journalist Bernard Hickey from interest.co.nz has blogged about the how the price of aluminium has risen 30% this year:

Here’s another commodity market that is rapidly heating up: aluminium. This is good news for Rio Tinto and the people at Bluff, although it may help keep the pressure up on power prices. The [Financial Times] has a nice piece here explaining why aluminium prices have risen 30% this year. However, the fundamentals are not brilliant and people are wondering if it’s another speculative driven squeeze up. Something tells me a vampire squid is making money out of this.

CLICK HERE to read the FT’s story.

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Bernstein: CFTC’s plans won’t stop wild speculation

Richard Bernstein, the former Chief Investment Strategist and Head of the Investment Strategy Group at Merrill Lynch and CEO of Richard Bernstein Capital Management, believes plans by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to regulate speculation on the exchange won’t work because it will merely push speculators to the non-regulated over-the-counter markets.

Bernstein also argues that it was hedge funds, not “textbook” speculators, and excessive lending from banks helped fuel the speculative bubble in the oil market in 2007/08.

I loudly applaud the CFTC’s efforts to tighten commodity trading regulations, but I think that Washington still doesn’t fully understand the root cause of today’s speculative commodity and financial markets. 

It’s not about position limits.  It’s about credit flowing to financial speculation instead of toward productive use. READ HERE

Commodify Me! would also like to point out that there is an article in Time Magazine that is closely related to this: Why There Should Be More Oil Speculation, Not Less.

CFTC considers measures aimed at speculation

An interesting story from the Washington Post about the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) chairman Gary Gensler considering implementing  policies that will reduce the price volatility caused by speculation on the commodity exchange.

The CFTC also has plans to regulate derivatives (financial contracts whose prices are derived from the price of something else. CLICK HERE for more information), limit the size of an investment a single firm can make in a particular commodity and allow greater public disclosure about the holdings of commodities traders:

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission will consider new measures to curb speculation in the markets for energy and other commodities, the agency is set to announce today.

The move aims to reduce the volatility of prices but faces resistance from top Wall Street firms, which fear the efforts could cut into profits. Regulators and lawmakers increasingly worry that these firms have used their size and power to inflate the prices of commodities, booking profits in the process. 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?