Commodity Corner

Views on commodities and energy

CFTC takes a mulligan on oil speculator numbers

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frustrated tiger woodsThe Commodity Futures Trading Commission has quietly bumped up the proportion of oil futures it thinks are held by speculators after going over its data. The agency now thinks speculators held 48 percent of oil futures and options -not 38 percent as it previously thought.

The CFTC is not providing much information about the revision, saying only it followed consultations with the futures industry.

The revision could be a little embarrassing for the agency as its position data forms a big part of its argument that oil speculators are not responsible for this year’s dramatic rally to a record over $147 a barrel last month.

Oil analysts noted the CFTC’s move was done rather quietly after a July 18 announcement. By contrast, the agency has trumpeted its recent enforcement actions in no fewer than six press releases this month.