Milk and Dairy Prices Set to Rise as Farm Bill Expires

By: Monday October 1, 2012 1:16 pm

The farm bill expired today, reverting some programs back to a 1949 level and totally eliminating others. The other day I looked at the consequences of expiration, and while many elements didn’t have much of an impact until the end of the year, in particular milk and dairy farmers were likely to feel the pinch [...]

Obama-Appointed Judge Strikes Down CFTC Commodity Speculation Limits

By: Friday September 28, 2012 3:59 pm

Everybody get on the commodity speculation train. A federal judge today threw out the Dodd-Frank provision that empowered the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to set position limits on commodity trading. Judge Robert Wilkins said in his ruling that the CFTC did not prove the necessity of position limits to curb runaway speculation, and that the [...]

Drought Will Raise Food Prices in What Could Be an Endless Cycle

By: Thursday July 26, 2012 8:55 am

The drought conditions in the Midwest show no sign of letting up, and if you believe the overwhelming amount of evidence on climate change, amounts to something approaching a new normal. So the first thing I’d say about this projection of food prices as a result of the drought is that, in a constantly warming [...]

Drought Conditions Send Commodity Prices Skyrocketing

By: Thursday July 19, 2012 12:17 pm

It’s time to really focus on this major US drought, which has sent commodity prices for corn and soybeans soaring, leading to a likely jump in global food prices. You know it’s bad when the Financial Times gets on the case. The world is facing a new food crisis as the worst US drought in [...]

Oil Speculation Can Be Right and Also a Problem

By: Thursday March 8, 2012 9:06 am

Matthew Yglesias has a piece making the fairly obvious point that geopolitical tensions cause the price of oil to rise. He adds that speculators are right to bid up the price of oil because of that: In the grand scheme of things, if the Iranian nuclear program really is a dire threat to American security, [...]

Judge Poised to Strike Down Position Limits for Oil Market Speculators

By: Tuesday February 28, 2012 8:55 am

We know that Wall Street speculation shoulders part of the blame for rising gas prices, and that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has done little to stop it. But I didn’t know that even the weak CFTC rules established last year were being challenged in federal court. And the outcome of that court case could [...]

Pelosi Speaks the Unspoken: Wall Street Speculation to Blame for Rising Gas Prices

By: Thursday February 23, 2012 6:59 am

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi went sharply after oil speculation late yesterday, taking up a strategy to answer Republicans on rising gas prices that has not been employed much in the political sphere. Take a look at Pelosi’s press release yesterday on the subject: Independent reports confirm that speculators are driving up the cost of [...]

Sanders, Cantwell Decry Weak New Commodity Speculation Rule

By: Wednesday October 19, 2011 8:15 am

After the Commodity Futures Trading Commission voted to impose position limits on commodity speculators, the emails started whizzing into my inbox. Since the vote fell strictly along party lines, you’d think the left-leaning emailers would be full of praise for the plan, while the right chagrined. But you would be wrong. There are basically two [...]

FTC Opens Investigation Into Oil Market Speculation

By: Tuesday June 21, 2011 7:30 am

The Federal Trade Commission has opened a long-overdue investigation into whether speculators are manipulating the price of oil. The FTC is using powers granted to them by the Dodd-Frank law, which criminalizes manipulation of the oil markets. They have the ability to subpoena market players to determine whether they are in violation, and initiate fines [...]

CFTC Charges Oil Traders in 2008 Speculation Scheme

By: Wednesday May 25, 2011 7:25 am

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission charged one trading house and two individuals for illegally manipulating oil prices during the price spike of 2008, when oil reached $147 a barrel, by creating the appearance of a shortage to drive up the benchmark for crude. While the action covers oil trading in 2008, the connection to today, [...]

Crude Oil Prices Collapse

By: Thursday May 5, 2011 1:28 pm

The New York Times really doesn’t want to mention speculation in this story about oil prices plunging today, but the first analyst they cite gives the game away: After four months of surging higher, oil prices plummeted by almost 9 percent on Thursday as traders worried that American drivers were beginning to balk at paying [...]

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