Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Oil Prices: Are Pension Funds Fueling High Oil?

Maybe the hedge fund guy was right. Earlier today we posted "Commodity Prices: Hedge Fund says it's University Endowments and Pension Funds". Now, from Der Spiegel:

A Senate hearing weighs charges that speculation by big investors and sovereign wealth funds is behind the rise in commodities and energy prices.

If you're wondering why driving to work has gotten so expensive, you might want to peruse your pension fund's investments. That's because speculation by institutional investors pouring money into the commodities market may be largely to blame for spiking oil prices, according to testimony on May 20 before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs. Crude oil, a so-called hard asset, is viewed as a buffer against inflation -- a foe of longer-term investment returns.

At the hearing, "Financial Speculation in Commodity Markets: Are Institutional Investors and Hedge Funds Contributing to Food and Energy Price Inflation?," senators heard from those defending the role of speculators in oil and commodities markets as well as those who argue that excessive speculation is the root of global price surges....MORE