LONDON, Dec 20 (Reuters) – The incoming chairman and new
members of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)
will inherit an agency that has been severely demoralised by
overwork, defeats in court, infighting among the commissioners
and severe criticism from the futures industry.
CFTC staff are among the least satisfied at any federal
agency, according to “Best Places to Work in the Federal
Government 2013,” the influential annual rankings compiled by
the Partnership for Public Service from the Office of Personnel
Management’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.
LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama could
probably lift the prohibition on domestic oil exports on his
own, but the White House has little reason to favour U.S. oil
producers and it would be safer politically to involve Congress
in any eventual decision.
The principal effect of the export ban is to transfer
revenues from domestic oil producers to U.S. refiners because it
ensures producers are forced to sell their output at a discount
rather than exporting at world market prices.
LONDON, Dec 18 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has
sufficient authority to lift the ban on U.S. oil exports on his
own and does not need approval from Congress.
The various statutes on which the ban is based have either
expired or give the president broad discretion.
LONDON, Dec 17 (Reuters) – “There is no denying the
controversial reality of coal,” Maria van der Hoeven, head of
the International Energy Agency (IEA), wrote in its annual
report on the coal industry, published on Monday.
“No fuel draws the same ire,” she noted. “And yet no fuel is
as responsible for powering the economic growth that has pulled
billions out of poverty in the past decades.”
LONDON, Dec 13 (Reuters) – Propane has been the
best-performing part of the barrel this autumn thanks to a
record-busting but damp corn harvest across the Midwest United
States, which has sent demand from crop driers soaring.
In response, U.S. propane prices have firmed, which should
eventually slow the rate of exports and rebuild stocks at home.
Price increases have started to ripple out worldwide.
LONDON, Dec 11 (Reuters) – No bank ever made a loan it did
not believe would be repaid.
But as the economic and financial cycle matures, lending
standards tend to decline. Borrowers stretch themselves, and
banks interpret standards more flexibly to accommodate them.
LONDON, Dec 11 (Reuters) – Speaking to the Economic Club of
New York on Monday about Britain’s economic recovery, Bank of
England Governor Mark Carney drew inspiration from Charles
Dickens’ nineteenth-century parable about miserliness contained
in his celebrated novel “A Christmas Carol”.
But perhaps the governor should consult a much older work,
Henry of Huntingdon’s twelfth-century “History of the English
People”, which relates the story of King Canute unsuccessfully
attempting to hold back the tide.
LONDON, Dec 9 (Reuters) – The Critical Minerals Policy Act
of 2013, backed by a bipartisan group of 18 senators, is one of
those pieces of special-interest legislation that deserves to
die in the U.S. Congress.
The bill (S 1600), pending before the Senate Committee on
Energy and Natural Resources, directs the secretary of the
interior to designate a list of up to 20 “critical minerals”
based on the risk of potential supply restrictions and their
importance to the economy.
LONDON, Dec 6 (Reuters) – Deutsche Bank’s decision to quit
trading in most commodity markets is another sign of the excess
capacity across the commodity-trading sector and likely
foreshadows further consolidation over the next two to three
Deutsche, rated one of the top five commodity
banks globally, will cease trading in energy, agriculture, base
metals, coal and iron ore, while retaining its precious metals
business and popular index funds.
LONDON, Dec 5 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has
directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to
finalise regulations on the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2)
emitted by existing coal-fired power plants by June 2015, as
part of the White House Climate Action Plan.
The EPA has already published draft regulations that would
limit greenhouse emissions from new coal plants to no more than
1,000 lbs of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour of electricity