Streetwise Professor

August 18, 2011

Now That’s *Really* Wrong

Filed under: Commodities,Derivatives,Economics,Energy,Exchanges,Politics,Regulation — The Professor @ 7:07 pm

Today’s WSJ has an article that lists the positions of several market participants in the oil futures market on 30 June, 2008, shortly before prices hit their all-time high  This information was leaked by somebody in the CFTC.  A CFTC spokesman “said the agency couldn’t comment because the list contains confidential information.”

You don’t say.  [I cleaned that up.]  Apparently somebody in CFTC didn’t get the memo.

This is egregious.  Truly egregious.  This is highly confidential information.  Its disclosure was clearly intended to advance some political agenda.

Let me hazard a guess what is driving that agenda: next month the CFTC is likely to move on its energy position limits proposal.  The disclosures about the positions held by financial players will no doubt help shape the battlefield for that fight.

I cannot emphasize enough what an abuse this is.

And it will hinder the CFTC going forward.  The agency often relies on voluntary cooperation by market participants to supply data that helps it understand what is going on in the market, or to help develop policies.  Is there any doubt that companies receiving such requests will now think twice about cooperating?

And don’t you feel so much better that under Frank-n-Dodd that the CFTC will have access to far more data from far more markets?

I just shake my head.   And speaking of heads, somebody’s should roll over this.  Maybe several somebody’s heads.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. SWP,

    Just a flashback here to a very important point Mark Adomanis makes about those super secret leaks about the U.S. Embassy in Tblisi story or non-story a while back:

    Why aren’t the leaker(s) being prosecuted? Isn’t classified info classified? Or are there approved and non-approved leaks?

    Seems kinda like another example, similar to that old State Dept. hand Richard Armitage not getting prosecuted for leaking Plame’s identity while Scooter Libby did. Did Armitage have a mokre kryshe, as the Russians say, while even Darth ‘let’s bomb the Roki Tunnel and start WWIII to get McCain elected’ Cheney couldn’t protect his protege Libby?

    Anyway, I’ll be sure to say hi to Ekaterina Fitz…er Phobie, if I see her and the two other people who show up for the New York City premier of Olympus Infer…er, 5 Days of War by peace loving Georgians against Evil Putinoid aggressors this week.

    Comment by Mr. X — August 18, 2011 @ 7:20 pm

  2. “The list was shown to the Journal by the office of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is among a number of federal lawmakers seeking to limit participation in the oil market by investors who have no direct commercial interest in crude.”

    Since Sen. Sanders is committed to upholding the laws of the United States, I’m sure him and his staff will be cooperating fully in the forthcoming investigation by the FBI. (And if not, his office should be the target of the investigation.)

    Comment by Mike Giberson — August 19, 2011 @ 6:35 am

  3. This is absolutely beyond absurd. This will only widen the WTI/Brent spread.

    Comment by Lion — August 19, 2011 @ 9:14 am

  4. @Mike–yeah. Caught that this morning. Wrote a new post to reflect the new info. Thanks.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 19, 2011 @ 11:17 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress