Big Banks Control All From Commodities To Countries


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Each barrel of oil is swapped 20 to 25 times before it is retailed in the US, each tonne of sugar 10 to 15 times before its sold in India. Why are prices of Carbon, energy, food so volatile as regulators look away ?

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Big Banks Control All From Commodities To Countries

  1. 1. Big Banks Control All “From Commodities to Countries” ECOTHRUST 1
  2. 2. INDEX 1 Carbon Markets Create Price Hikes in Europe 3 2 Did EU ETS "Cap and Trade" Cause Energy Prices to Skyrocket? 7 3 Peak Oil Debate Piques Interest at Davos 11 4 Energy Speculations Spur Chinese Interest 16 5 Sugar Prices Leap as Commodity Futures Punt on Bio fuels 20 6 Big Banks Today Control "Commodities To Countries" 24 7 NOTES 28 Key References: 1 Levin and Feinstein Introduce Oil Trading Transparency Act 29 2 Mrs Feinsteins’ presentation at the US Senate on 23rd July 2008 32 RSS Feed for the Technorati Articles of this series to share or subscribe Eco thrust Blog The seven articles of this series on Technorati are with an intention to establish the hold big business today has on the prices of carbon, energy, food and livelihood and how they have been successful to manipulate regulators and politicians of even the oldest democracies of the world to create super profits at the taxpayers’ cost, in the name of climate change or free market economics. Only a transaction tax at the future markets can stop them from growing and bring equilibrium. ECOTHRUST 2
  3. 3. Carbon Markets Create Price Hikes in Europe Author: Sandip Sen Published: January 22, 2010 at 8:12 am “Technorati“ Share Energy prices doubled in Europe from 2004 levels after implementation of the EU ETS 1, reports a Bloomberg study linking carbon prices to the energy price hike. A Bloomberg energy analyst had predicted before the Copenhagen conference that another related energy price hike was on the way. However, the failure of COP15 to create an emissions accord dampened speculative activity in Europe’s carbon markets, ensuring a fall to lower levels thereafter. ECOTHRUST 3
  4. 4. A look at the futures market shows us sharp fluctuations in carbon prices since 2004. Starting strong at slightly over €25, the carbon prices peaked at €33 in April 2006 before plummeting (below €1 in unofficial deals outside the energy exchanges). Seeing the carbon prices dissipate like so much hot air had the EU in a flutter. The official trading prices of carbon in Amsterdam and London were controlled by choking the issue of free permits (blue lines in graph below). 4
  5. 5. ECOTHRUST The controlling of free issue of EU ETS I by the European Commission alone was not enough. Many countries, including France and Germany, had received over 20 million excess carbon permits resulting in abundant availability in the market. Carbon prices kept on moving down and volumes refused to grow until the beginning of 2007, as permits issued were reportedly 6–10% over the actual demand. French and German companies were sitting on a unsold pile of carbon permits as the bottom dropped out and EU ETS Phase 2 was ushered in 2008. The new series of EU carbon credits saw volumes rise again as the old permits were no longer valid, but some lost out in process. 5
  6. 6. ECOTHRUST Though there is no direct relation of the two, there was a sharp price rise in the energy sector after the implementation of EU ETS phase I and commencement of cap and trade. This becomes all the more worrisome for the consumer as, since the 1990s, energy prices had been dormant in Europe and stock prices in the energy majors had never been as buoyant as they are now. Did hot air from the carbon trade blow away the consumers' dream of stable energy prices in Europe? ---------- 6
  7. 7. ECOTHRUST Did EU ETS "Cap and Trade" Cause Energy Prices to Skyrocket? Author: Sandip Sen Published: January 27, 2010 at 8:04 pm “Technorati” Share After two decades of stability since the Gulf War of 1973, oil prices started a skywards march as Europe's emission trading scheme took roots. The regulatory framework of EU ETS under Kyoto provided sufficient assurance and incentives to the energy industry without meaningful benchmarking to ensure that all were subsidized and compensated equally with free carbon permits, immaterial of their thermal and emission efficiency. 7
  8. 8. ECOTHRUST The incentive was to switch preferences to the less polluting oil during peak load operations. The perfect emissions cum profit mantra seemed to be plan and obtain carbon permits as a coal fired unit, and operate with coal, oil, or gas mix to get the best of both worlds. But there was a catch. Pouncing on the cap and trade opportunity that had taken years to create, oil majors formed commodity cartels and had prices galloping across Europe and the rest of the world. 8
  9. 9. ECOTHRUST Energy producers in EU doubled prices of power after 2004 as oil and carbon prices galloped. Thus, instead of giving a boost to the reduction of emission and to the growth of renewable energy, the EU ETS cap and trade mitigation policy fanned oil and carbon prices, and hurt consumers who had to pay for the tariff hikes. Few big producers in the UK like EDF Energy and British Gas offered renewable energy, but with differential pricing and power quality, attracting few buyers. Others like Ebico, Scottish Power, and Power Gen continued with fossil plus hydro power. All of them were getting free carbon permits for cap and trade but chose to ignore CDM in the true spirit. The liberal EU ETS policies and implementation caused emission to rise by 3% instead of a drop of 5%, as agreed at Kyoto. 9
  10. 10. ECOTHRUST Meanwhile, the OPEC ORB 5-year averages computed from crude oil prices since the eighties showed a quantum jump after 1997 and especially since 2004. This gave sceptics reason to criticize Kyoto instead of the faulty cap and trade. However, unlike normal belief, it was not the OPEC producers who created this very sharp oil price hike that affected the global industry. We shall go into the details of how and why the energy prices jumped in our subsequent articles at Technorati on the COP15 failure. --------------- 10
  11. 11. ECOTHRUST Peak Oil Debate Piques Interest at Davos Author: Sandip Sen Published: January 31, 2010 at 8:46 pm ‘Technorati’ Share The oil speculation [PDF file] cat is out of the bag. Tony Hayward, group chief executive of BP, made the tallest claim at the World Economic Forum in Davos, that there was a "supply challenge" for the energy industry, which would have to increase output to 100mbd - a new peak for oil from the current capacities of 83-84mbd. Peter Voser, the chief executive of Shell, said that the industry would have to find up to US$27 trillion of investment over the next 20 years to meet demand. 11
  12. 12. ECOTHRUST 'Group Europe’s' claim was promptly labelled as bluff by Khalid al Falih, Armco’s chairman and chief executive, dismissing claims of a shortage, or a demand surge in oil. The head of the largest oil producing corporation in the world hit out at "misleading" rhetoric that the world was weaning itself off fossil fuels, saying this did not give producers confidence to keep investing in production. Saudi Aramco’s CEO was dismissive of Europe’s stark concerns. “We don't believe in peak oil”, he said in a candid statement made after his speech. 12
  13. 13. ECOTHRUST The BP-Shell duo have a long road to go to convince all markets of their point of view. It is said that the oil majors are creating speculative pressure on the commodity markets with the help of commodity speculators and banks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley . Europe’s falling oil output at North Sea has been the talk of the energy circles during the last few years, even as intense speculative activity around Brent Oil at the London Exchange has been driving oil prices upwards. 13
  14. 14. ECOTHRUST Future contracts of oil and gas at the ICE and NYMEX (with 6% margin money) are changing 14
  15. 15. hands several thousand times a day, at times in "round trip trading", to fuel speculation, which is not new for the energy industry. ECOTHRUST Oil is a commodity for which OECD demand is dropping but stocks rising. It is apparent that locking up billions in oil stocks and speculation is not approved by many, as ten major, recent oil discoveries could use those locked up funds. Besides, the resultant price rise is hurting the consumer during the coldest winter of the decade, that led to the highest net - long positions in the futures market since the early Eighties. 15
  16. 16. ------------- ECOTHRUST Energy Speculations Spur Chinese Interest Author: Sandip Sen Published: February 10, 2010 at 11:43 am Share Chinese Vice Premier Li called on the "global reserve currency issuers" at Davos to show greater accountability and discipline. 16
  17. 17. Price manipulation in the commodity and futures markets are creating serious doubts in mind of the consumers worldwide and affecting the credibility of regulators. Surprisingly it is not Senators Levin and Feinstein, but China whose protests are now being heard. ECOTHRUST A decade ago commodity trades were spiked by Europe’s back street boys from Swiss headquarters running up price rigging rackets in oil supplied from strife torn nations like Angola, Nigeria, Venezuela, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, and Sudan. Companies like Glencore, Trafigura, and Taurus Oil ruled the markets and fixed prices as oil and food moved through war zones and embargoes. 17
  18. 18. Though crimes were serious, the scales were smaller and unable to affect global commodity prices seriously. The first major offender in the commodity scam was the Enron Corporation, coincidentally an energy company. They used financial innovation and round-trip swaps in the futures markets and showed the next generation how to execute the unethical legally. ECOTHRUST Insider trading was out. Round-trip trading was perfected to a fine art with the London Loophole, where commodity cartels formed by Europe's giant oil corporations and the big Wall Street Banks were in. Thousands of cross trading operations carried out each day jacked up prices globally with cartel members profiting from the upsurge of oil prices. 18
  19. 19. --------------- ECOTHRUST Manipulations in Brent Oil futures at ICE and NYMEX had a ripple effect on both the large OPEC oil market as well as on gas prices. The China Investment Corporation recently picked up a 3.4% stake worth USD 78.6 million in the Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley operated U.S. Oil Fund, an exchange-traded crude- futures fund, in a strategy move to learn the tricks of the trade to control markets. 19
  20. 20. Though President Obama did talk tough against the big banks early this month and the "Volcker report" touched on a few basic issues, the Western economies are still reluctant to impose a turnover tax on commodities. Unless a token ad valorem transaction tax is imposed and fictitious round-trip deals that are spiking oil and food prices are stopped, commodity prices will boom and an Enron repeat will be in the cards. -------------- ECOTHRUST Sugar Prices Leap as Commodity Futures Punt on Bio fuels Author: Sandip Sen Published: February 16, 2010 at 9:30 am Share The carbon economy has not only raised energy costs but has started hurting food prices, as commodity futures of sugar are 20
  21. 21. aggressively rising. The recent spurt was triggered last year by India's announcement of large scale sugar imports and shows no signs of abetting. Reportedly, each barrel of oil is swapped 25 to 30 times in the futures market during price peaks before it finds its way to the US retail markets at 50% higher prices. Similarly one metric ton of sugar is cross traded 10 to 15 times at the London exchange before it reaches India, 30% overpriced. ECOTHRUST 21
  22. 22. The drive for bio fuels by big oil is creating commodity speculation in sugar, corn, soybeans, and canola oil. The EPA's recent clearance of the rule for expanded renewable fuel standards (RFS2)—mandating the production of 36 billion gallons by 2022—and the development of commercial plants by Range Fuels and Abengoa Bioenergy have increased speculation. ECOTHRUST By 2020, 328 million barrels per annum biodiesel will reduce GHG by 138 22
  23. 23. million MT consuming almost 40% of the US corn crop and 20% of Brazil’s sugar cane. Alternative energy today is entering into a very critical sector that will impact the future of nations, and worldwide poverty. The FAO recently announced that an increase in commodity and energy prices could bring political upheaval in the developing world. ECOTHRUST Commercial ethanol plants are still not operational in US and will have initially a 23
  24. 24. combined capacity of only 50 million gallons per year. So it is not the bio fuel plants, the high demand crops, or the processing capacities that are causes for real concern, but speculation. Like coal and oil there is a demand drop in the consumption of sugar, corn, and alcohol worldwide. However, oil giants like Shell have gone into long-term distribution MOU's with Brazilian ethanol producers that will be adding to speculation in the commodities market on sugar futures. The big cartels are rigging up the markets once again. It's high time to start taxing commodity futures transactions. -------- ECOTHRUST 24
  25. 25. Big Banks Today Control "Commodities To Countries" Author: Sandip Sen Published: February 19, 2010 at 4:40 pm Share Cross swaps in oil futures reportedly yielded mega profits of over $50 billion last year on a turnover of $2500 billion, a commodity whose global stock value has been traditionally less than $100 billion. In short each barrel of oil was swapped 20 to 25 times on paper among a closed cartel mostly at the trader friendly London ICE Exchange as volatility generated the super profits. ECOTHRUST The big four, the Wall Street bankers, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and European oil majors BP and Shell—who hold the major 25
  26. 26. stocks of North Sea Brent Oil and West Texas Intermediate—were the prime movers and shakers. Incidentally they control the supply chain around Europe with the help of friendly Governments, lax regulators, and some quick decisive investment in stocking and pipeline facilities. Over 80 million barrels of oil are being hoarded in super tankers around the world today, as per Frontline which owns the largest tanker fleet worldwide. Morgan Stanley, BP, and Shell’s own terminal stocking facilities in Kuwait, the UAE, Africa, Europe, and the Americas are used to soak up excess oil stocks and quickly dump back the same to create a market volatility at Europe’s future markets. ECOTHRUST "Contango" trades and falling charter prices have ensured the viability of these giant flotillas, and Morgan Stanley recently leased 26
  27. 27. out the giant super tanker Agenta to enhance the grip. With a liberal price gap of $8 on March futures and $21 on September rates it is profitable to buy spot oil and hire the super tankers today at around $1 a barrel for 3 to 6 months. ECOTHRUST Veterans of manipulation of Governments in the West African oil deals, the big four are today debt managing Europe’s excessive leverage through a host of "off balance sheet 27
  28. 28. transactions," through a myriad of financiers in lieu of regulators looking the other way at the Commodity exchanges. Thus it is not only Greece who should be blamed for peddling future airport and lottery receipts. Even the UK and EU are to blame for off balance sheet financing deals comprising of PFI to reduce public sector cost (reportedly even a few prisons are off balance sheet expenditures). No wonder regulators can’t squarely deal with the "London loophole" despite mounting public pressure to levy a transaction tax on swaps -------- ECOTHRUST NOTES : THE ABOVE ANALYTICS HAVE BEEN DRAWN ON ESTABLISHED DATA SOURCES LKE : WB, IEA, OPEC, THE OILDRUM, THE RENEWABLE ENERGY ASSOCIATION, 28
  29. 29. BLOOMBERG, BUSINESS WEEK, FT, GAURDIAN, TELEGRAPH, REUTER AND OTHER REPUTED NEW SOURCES BESIDES UNITED STATES SENATE REPORTS AS PER EACH OF THE LINKS GIVEN WITH TEXT. IN CASE A LINK DOES NOT ACTIVATE PLS COPY & PASTE ON YOUR BROWSER or contact the author at We also acknowledge with thanks the effort of our Creative Director Katerina Voutsara for the Video Presentation of this document. The “London Loophole” is the operation of computerised round trip swaps amongst a closed cartel to raise prices of commodities. Being done since the days of Enron at the ICE Exchange by a cartel comprising of the big four, swaps is the primary instrument that requires to be taxed by the regulators per transaction to stop the bogus speculative deals. The regulators have been able to only partially plug the loophole though the issue was raised by Senators Levin and Feinstein over 5 years ago, for the cartels find ways to circumvent the regulators in absence of a transaction tax -------- ECOTHRUST KEY REFERENCES 29
  30. 30. Levin and Feinstein Introduce Oil Trading Transparency Act Bill would limit speculation in oil trading and close loophole for trades on foreign exchanges using U.S. terminals WASHINGTON – Senators Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today introduced the Oil Trading Transparency Act to ensure that energy commodities traded on foreign exchanges using trading terminals located within the United States are subject to the same speculative trading limits and reporting requirements as energy commodities traded on U.S. exchanges. “The United States places limits on speculative energy trades that contribute to high prices,” said Levin. “But traders of U.S. crude oil know that they can avoid U.S. limits and transparency requirements by trading crude oil futures on the London exchange instead of the NYMEX exchange in New York. The traders can do it by using computer terminals that are located in the United States but provide direct access to the London exchange. Our legislation would close this loophole by requiring that foreign boards of trade that operate trading terminals in our country comply with the same speculation trading limits and reporting requirements that apply to U.S. trades.” ECOTHRUST 30
  31. 31. “Oil prices continue to set records – yesterday, oil hit $123 per barrel – and there seems to be no relief in sight for consumers as we head into the summer travel season. The concern is that energy markets are not working – and that speculation adds an extra $20 - $25 per barrel to the price of oil. We must protect these markets from manipulation, excessive speculation and fraud,” Senator Feinstein said. “The good news is that Congress is poised to finally close the ‘Enron Loophole,’ and place all major electronic trades that could drive energy prices under the watchful eye of the CFTC. However, I remain concerned that there are no comparable protections in place when U.S. energy futures are traded on international markets – presenting yet another regulatory loophole for energy traders to exploit. So, this legislation would close that loophole and ensure that the trading of all U.S. energy futures – whether on foreign or domestic markets – is done with transparency and with an audit trail.” The Levin-Feinstein Oil Trading Transparency Act would direct the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to ensure that any foreign exchange operating a trading terminal in the United States for the trading of a U.S. energy commodity meets two regulatory requirements that already apply to U.S. exchanges: (1) imposition of speculative trading limits to prevent price manipulation and excessive speculation, and (2) the mandatory daily publication of trading information from the exchange to ensure market transparency. The bill would also require the CFTC to obtain information from the foreign exchange to enable it to determine how much trading in U.S. energy commodities is due to speculation. The CFTC issues a weekly publication with speculation data for U.S. markets. ECOTHRUST 31
  32. 32. One example highlighting the need for this bill involves the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), which operates a key energy futures exchange in London called ICE Futures Europe. ICE Futures Europe has set up computer terminals here in the United States where U.S. traders can trade U.S. crude oil (West Texas Intermediate) on the London exchange. West Texas Intermediate crude oil is produced here, used here, and never leaves the United States, but because it is traded on the London exchange, the trades are not subject to U.S. trading regulations. Traders who use the London exchange aren’t subject to the same speculation limits that apply to U.S. exchanges like NYMEX, and the exchange itself doesn’t have to provide daily reporting of their trading data in the same manner as NYMEX. That regulatory disparity means U.S. traders trading U.S. oil on the London exchange can engage in excessive speculation that affects U.S. prices and not report their trades. Earlier this year, Feinstein and Levin, along with Senator Olympia Snowe (R- Maine) and others, introduced a measure to close the so-called “Enron Loophole,” which has exempted electronic energy markets for large traders from government oversight. This measure has been incorporated into the farm bill which is expected to pass Congress and be sent to President Bush in the near future. Additionally, Levin, who serves at the chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, has conducted a number of investigations into the pricing of energy commodities, including gasoline, crude oil, and natural gas. These investigations reflect a continuing concern over the sustained increases in the price and price volatility of these essential commodities, and, in light of these increases, the adequacy of governmental oversight of the markets that set these prices. ------------------- ECOTHRUST 32
  33. 33. Floor Statement in Support of the “Stop Excessive Energy Speculation Act” Floor of the United States Senate Wednesday, July 23, 2008 MRS. FEINSTEIN: Mr. President, I wish I could come to the floor and say there is a quick fix for gasoline prices at the pump. This is needed as much as anywhere in California where gas prices are high -- and at times the very highest. I wish I could say there was a quick fix. But I really can't. I wish I could say that if we could drill all of the Outer Continental Shelf, if we could drill on all of the public land in America, the price of pump would drop immediately, but I can't. In all good conscience I don't believe that opening the Outer Continental Shelf to new drilling would lower the prices at the pump any time in the near future. • First place, it takes two years for Minerals and Management Services to do the contracts. • Second place, all drilling rigs are now leased. There need to be new rigs. • Third place, there is no additional refining capacity. • Fourth place, drilling in the outer continental shelf and on public lands in America over the last eight years has increased by 361% and at the same time the price of oil has doubled. ECOTHRUST 33
  34. 34. So there is no relationship between drilling on the outer continental shelf, drilling on public lands in America and the price of oil. I deeply believe this. Some say it's simply a problem of supply and demand but physical supplies of oil and natural gas have remained relatively stable over the past year. In fact, if you remember, executives from oil companies testified before congress recently and asserted that the price should be about $60 a barrel if it were just a matter of supply and demand. Some point to instability in the Middle East and Africa's production regions. Others have pointed to the falling dollar. These are certainly factors. But it can't explain the sharp uptick in prices we've seen at the pump over the last few months. So what's really going on? What's new in this picture? Consumption in America has dropped 3 percent this year over the same period last year. So what's new? There's only one thing that's different. There's only one thing that's new -- and it's a massive influx of speculation in the marketplace. This is the 800-pound gorilla. Increasingly, experts now say that rampant speculation in energy markets account for anywhere from 25 to 40 percent of the energy price increase. Some will say even more. ECOTHRUST 34
  35. 35. So I think we've got to take a look at why this is the case and what we can do about it. In May, Congress took a major step forward in the effort to bring more oversight to energy futures markets when we enacted legislation to close the notorious Enron loophole. The senator from Minnesota just referred to it. I had worked on this for six years. I came to the Floor when Phil Gramm argued against it. We lost - got just 48 votes. We came back again. We finally got it in the farm bill this time. The notorious Enron loophole, today, is closed. Now, what was that? This loophole was created in 2000 when a measure was inserted in the dark of night into a must-pass appropriations bill at the behest of Enron and others to essentially eliminate them from the Commodities Modernization Act. Two commodities were left out: energy and metals. During the Western Energy Crisis, we saw the costs soar from $8 billion in 1999 to $27 billion in 2000, and then to $27.5 billion in 2001. The reason for this was, in the main, manipulation, fraud, and reckless speculation of the worst sort – all because you could trade on electronic platforms with no transparency and there was no anti-fraud or anti-manipulation oversight by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. ECOTHRUST 35
  36. 36. When all was said and done, the energy traders left California taxpayers with an increased bill of about $40 billion. To date, 32 companies have pled guilty to market manipulation and settled $6 billion in claims. In recent years, we also saw the $6 billion collapse of the Amaranth hedge fund because of unregulated speculation in natural gas futures on electronic exchanges. And the list goes on. And this has typified the energy marketplace. So it became clear that a legislative fix was needed. And we finally got that done, as I said. The bill, which is now law, ensures that all major trades of energy futures that could drive up prices, or have what's called a price discovery impact, are placed under the oversight of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. The new law imposes limits on rampant speculation, prevents fraud and manipulation, requires traders for the first time to keep records and provide an audit trail to the CFTC. This was a significant victory. It's signed into law. But as we continue to learn more about what's really going on with energy futures markets, it's clear that more work remains to be done. We're learning about additional loopholes that must be closed. And the legislation before us is critical to ensure that we can level the playing field in energy markets, that there's transparency there. ECOTHRUST 36
  37. 37. First, the problem of large institutional investors like pension funds -- this is what's new in this market. From 2003 to 2008 institutional investments in commodity index funds rose from $13 billion to $317 billion. That's in five years -- from $13 billion to $317 billion. Now, you might say, what does that have to do with it? Well, Daniel Yergin said what it has to do with it when he said that “Oil has become the new gold a financial asset in which investors seek refuge as inflation rises and the dollar weakens.” Investors seek refuge. So the implications are potentially devastating. And here's why. Unlike gold, energy and agricultural commodities meet essential needs in every day life of average people. They are limited. They aren't pork bellies. Energy is limited in the amount we have. And these institutional investors, the big pension funds like my own, the California Public Employee Retirement Fund or CalPERS, has invested over $1 billion in these markets. These institutional investors are trading long on energy futures prices. In other words, they are betting that the prices in these future markets continue to rise. They're not hedging against the risk of changing oil prices as airlines and utilities frequently do. They never take delivery of a product. They participate in the oil markets only on paper. ECOTHRUST 37
  38. 38. Yet these investors, the big ones, are currently exempt from CFTC regulation when they execute these trades through brokers or dealers. These trades are called "swaps." Currently, the CFTC limits speculation positions to a total of 20 million barrels of oil and three million barrels of oil in the last three days of a contract. However, these same investors avoid these limits by executing their trades as swaps. This is a mistake. Institutional investors have become speculators. Last month, the CFTC announced it would review trading practices for these investors and this is a positive step. But legislation is still needed to level the playing field and close the loophole. This bill before us will limit the size and influence of institutional investor positions in energy markets. To further increase transparency this bill also requires the CFTC to begin distinguishing between the institutional investor index trader and the swaps dealers who broker their trades. This legislation closes the swaps loophole bringing transparency and speculative limits from contracts executed through swaps dealers. In that way, preventing a price discovery function as much as possible to keep prices from continuing to escalate. ECOTHRUST 38
  39. 39. Specifically, the bill gives the CFTC the authority to begin collecting data on large over-the-counter traders so it can determine whether price manipulation or excessive speculation is taking place. And this would ensure that the CFTC has a clear picture of all trading in over the counter commodity markets. Now, the London loophole. What is the London loophole? We must prevent U.S. crude oil contracts from being traded on international exchanges without robust oversight. A recent report found that traders were using the London exchange to trade U.S. crude oil futures to avoid U.S. regulations – in other words, go around it. Trades exceeded U.S. speculation limits every single week since 2006. Last month, CFTC announced it would limit this offshore market speculation and require recordkeeping and an audit trail for these traders. That's a start. But legislation is still needed to codify the legislation. And this legislation will require foreign exchanges with customers in the United States to adopt the same speculation trading limits and reporting requirements that apply to United States trade – ending the regulatory race to the bottom. ECOTHRUST 39
  40. 40. This language is based on legislation that Senator Levin and I introduced previously. I believe very strongly that we must ensure that American energy commodities are protected from manipulation and excessive speculation regardless of where the commodities are traded. Bottom line: this bill brings transparency, it brings accountability, it brings recordkeeping, and it brings oversight to the energy markets. It would impose sound, proven, economic principles to markets that are currently broke and where speculation has increased so dramatically that it is pushing price up. It would close regulatory and legislative loopholes that prevent the CFTC from enforcing the commodity exchange act in energy commodity markets. I hope my colleagues will support it. I suspect it may not pass. I hope it does because there is no question in my mind that the 800-pound gorilla and the price of gasoline at the pump is excessive speculation on commodities futures markets deals with energy. Thank you very much, Mr. President. I yield the floor. FuseAction=NewsRoom.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=e3fca6f0-9 191-ede4-029f-4b1bdc489e16&Region_id=&Issue_id=7ab95600- d8b6-774a-8611-a11ffd8d67ae -------------- ECOTHRUST 39 40