Agricultural/Financial correspondent
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May 25, 2011

CFTC to market manipulators: We’re gonna get you

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The day after bringing its biggest case of oil market manipulation ever, a U.S. regulator warned those trying to rig the commodities markets that they will be hunted down.

“We’re watching and we’ll come and get you,” warned Bart Chilton, a commissioner for the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

May 24, 2011

CFTC charges Arcadia, oil traders with manipulation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. futures regulator on Tuesday sued two veteran oil traders and their employers, the Arcadia and Parnon Energy firms, charging they booked $50 million in profits by manipulating oil prices in 2008.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission accused traders at Parnon Energy Inc and Arcadia Energy Suisse SA of carrying out a cross-market trading scheme between January and April of 2008 involving accumulation and sell-off of a substantial position in physical crude oil to manipulate futures prices.

May 20, 2011

Analysis: OTC swaps face legal void as CFTC misses deadline

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Billions of dollars in derivatives will be headed into legal limbo if U.S. regulators don’t create a short-term fix to the market chaos that could be unleashed by missing a July financial reform deadline.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in the midst of writing dozens of new rules, has said it will miss the July 16 deadline for implementing rules that give it oversight of the $600-trillion global over-the-counter derivatives market.

May 19, 2011

New CFTC steward: novice who could break logjam

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Mark Wetjen, the 37-year-old Democrat nominated to a pivotal fifth seat on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, proved his political mettle as the “general” of the Senate floor last summer, shepherding through the biggest financial reforms since the Great Depression.

As Senate Majority leader Harry Reid’s point man on Dodd-Frank, Wetjen (pronounced Wee-jen) was instrumental in helping rationalize differing versions of the bill, and making sure it moved swiftly once it made its way to the Senate floor for passage, according to a former senior staffer.

May 19, 2011

Atlantic hurricane season “above normal”: weather agency

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The 2011 Atlantic hurricane season will be “above normal”, spawning six to 10 hurricanes of which around half could become major, the U.S. government’s weather agency forecast on Thursday.

However, as the 2010 season showed — it was very active but the U.S. coastline escaped a hit — a high frequency of storms does not always translate into more destructive landfalls.

May 12, 2011

Regulators assure Congress on Wall Street crackdown

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. financial regulators, under pressure from a deeply divided Congress, pledged to follow through with a crackdown on Wall Street and the banking business, but to take enough time to get it right.

Members of a new inter-agency council, set up under 2010’s Dodd-Frank reforms, told the U.S. Senate Banking Committee on Thursday that they will take more time to figure out how to select banks, insurers and hedge funds for extra-strict government policing.

May 11, 2011

Senators demand CFTC tackle oil speculation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A group of 17 U.S. senators called on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Wednesday to immediately crack down on excessive speculation in crude oil markets by hastening planned rules to limit concentration.

In a letter to the CFTC’s chairman and commissioners, the lawmakers said they wanted the agency to unveil a plan by May 23 to impose position limits in all energy futures markets, beginning with crude oil. The agency has already proposed such limits as part of the financial reform, but has not finalized them.

May 5, 2011

New CFTC enforcement chief vows to be aggressive

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The new enforcement chief at the futures regulator’s said on Thursday he will aggressively use his “bigger arsenal of weapons” to crack down on fraud and manipulation in the marketplace.

David Meister, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s director of enforcement, said he’s adopted an “aggressive, quick, and efficient” stance toward illegal activity in the futures and swaps markets.

May 5, 2011

CFTC proposals would increase end-user costs: O’Malia

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. futures regulator has proposed rules that would increase costs for power companies, airlines and major manufacturers, a consequence Congress told the agency to avoid when it crafted new financial reform measures, a top official said on Thursday.

Scott O’Malia, a commissioner at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, renewed his concern that the agency’s proposal defining a swap dealer is too broad and could end up including businesses that use swaps primarily to hedge their risks, pushing costs higher.

May 5, 2011

House GOP tries to slow Dodd-Frank express

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two congressional committees led by Republicans approved measures on Wednesday to delay and weaken key provisions of last year’s Dodd-Frank Wall Street reforms, but they were expected to fizzle in the Senate.

With Democrats in control of the upper chamber of Congress and President Barack Obama able to defend Dodd-Frank with his veto pen, efforts by Republicans to water down and postpone the reforms seemed unlikely to succeed, analysts said.

    • About Christopher

      "Currently based in Washington, Christopher reports on agriculture in Congress and the U.S. Agriculture Department. He also is actively involved in covering regulatory reform, with a focus on the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission."
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