Oil speculator witch hunt goes global

Market speculation is a very convenient scapegoat. Having effectively blamed speculation for food volatility, U.S. regulators are moving on to oil:
The Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is considering a plan, which already has widespread support in Congress, that would "impose limits as necessary to eliminate, diminish or prevent the undue burdens on interstate commerce that may result from excessive speculation."
To add international stature, none other than Gordon Brown and Nicholas Sarkozy penned a joint editorial in the WSJ calling on the International Organization of Securities Regulators to "reduce damaging speculation" in world oil markets.

Simon Johnson at the Baseline Scenario parses - he "welcomes" the CFTC's moves but calls the G8 rhetoric "disingenuous."

More generally, I question whether the actual rules which will be implemented to limit "damaging" speculation will actually reduce volatility overall - as someone else wrote recently (can't remember who but it stuck with me), one man's speculator is another man's welcome provider of market liquidity. Remember the onions...

No comments:

Post a Comment