Legendary hedge fund manager George Soros and a top executive at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange are slated to testify next week on manipulation in the energy markets, a Senate panel said Friday, as Washington widens its probe of what's driving record-high oil prices.
Tuesday's hearing, held by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, will try to determine what factors the Federal Trade Commission should consider when it makes rules on preventing manipulation in the wholesale oil and petroleum distillates markets.
It's the latest public forum focused on whether drivers besides supply and demand are responsible for a spike in oil, grains and other commodities prices.
The main regulator for the U.S. futures industry on Thursday announced a series of changes designed to make it easier to determine what types of investors -- notably financial firms making bets on prices or commercial traders looking to hedge their output and use -- are making big moves in energy markets.
The announcement by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission follows previous testimony by the regulator's officials that jumps in oil and agricultural commodities have little correlation with increased investments by index traders, or investors who allocate a portion of their portfolios to investments that track popular commodities index. See related story.
But large users of commodities, as well as some investors, have maintained that speculators are a key reason behind the commodities run-up. They have faulted rules regulating what the CFTC considers a financial speculator, as well as the regulator's data collection....MORE