Monday, May 12, 2008

4th UPDATE: Senate Bill To Crack Down On ICE Oil Speculation

We posted the bill on Saturday, here, including the statement from the NYMEX. Don't really see much chance of it passing but it sure is getting some reaction. From Dow Jones via Morningstar:

U.S. oil traders may be in for tougher oversight: U.S. Senate Democrats are seeking to crack down on speculation in an overseas market that has come to play a major role in oil trading in little more than two years.

Congressional Democrats are concerned that speculation in the market by IntercontinentalExchange's (ICE) ICE Futures Europe, is helping drive up oil prices, which closed at a record high of nearly $126 a barrel on Friday. The market, based nominally in London, isn't subject to speculation limits as is the New York Mercantile Exchange (NMX), even though many of the ICE computer screens through which trades are placed are located in the U.S.

The U.K.'s Financial Services Authority, or FSA, doesn't keep track of how much trading is conducted by speculators, and doesn't hold speculators to account if their positions become inordinately large. While U.S. regulators treat FSA regulation as if it's comparable to U.S. regulation, there are differences. Lawmakers are concerned that the disparities may be prompting traders to bid up oil prices using overseas markets in ways that artificially inflate the prices U.S. consumers wind up paying for gasoline at U.S. filling stations....MUCH MORE