Planet Gore

Fuel-Price Fix

In case you missed Noel Shappard’s “An Unconventional Fix for Fuel Prices,” check out this from Barrons:

Meanwhile, the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held Capitol Hill hearings on “Curbing Excessive Speculation in the Commodity Markets.”
The connection between the two events was little noticed but is direct: Something can be done about the higher prices of food and fuel — the source of the inflation that concerns the Federal Open Market Committee. Much as I hate to agree with any politician who blames the speculator whenever goods get too dear, which usually amounts to shooting the messenger, Homeland Security Committee Chair Joe Lieberman unfortunately had a point when he accused speculators of “artificially inflating the prices of food and fuel futures.”
The remedy for restoring stability, however, is far simpler than Senator Lieberman seems to realize. Instead of acting on his resolve to “introduce comprehensive bipartisan legislation to address excessive speculation,” his committee should simply demand that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission enforce rules that have been on the regulatory books since 1936.
The rules the CFTC should enforce are position limits that specify the maximum number of contracts in a given market that any single speculative entity can hold. These limits, which generally amount to about 2% of all contracts outstanding, are set for a good reason: The commodity markets are too small to absorb an excess of speculative dollars. Even at current inflated prices and a near-record level of trading interest, the total contract value on all domestic commodity exchanges comes to only $960 billion. By way of comparison, even at current depressed prices, the total market capitalization of all domestically traded stocks tops $13 trillion.
But as though commodity markets were as large as stock markets, a new breed of commodity index “investor” has taken speculative buying way beyond anything domestic commodity markets have ever seen. These commodity indexers ignore individual market fundamentals, instead flooding liquidity into markets based solely on the weightings dictated by one or another commodity index benchmark. The flood has become a torrent. For example, based on commodity trader Steve Briese’s calculations, “long” bets by the indexers in wheat account for nearly 60% of the 2007 domestic wheat crop.

 

Most Popular

Media

The Unseemly Urge to Excuse Jeffrey Toobin

Jeffrey Toobin, legal analyst for CNN and The New Yorker, was suspended from his jobs and subjected to a round of public mockery for visibly exposing himself while masturbating on a Zoom call with New Yorker colleagues. The call was designed to role-play post-election scenarios for a contested election; Toobin ... Read More
Media

The Unseemly Urge to Excuse Jeffrey Toobin

Jeffrey Toobin, legal analyst for CNN and The New Yorker, was suspended from his jobs and subjected to a round of public mockery for visibly exposing himself while masturbating on a Zoom call with New Yorker colleagues. The call was designed to role-play post-election scenarios for a contested election; Toobin ... Read More

Biden Can’t Tax the Rich

Joe Biden’s tax plan is based on a deathless myth: that taxes are actually paid in economic terms by those upon whom they legally fall. The obviousness of this nonsense is clear enough if you put the proposition into plain English: “Don’t you worry, now, we’re not going to raise taxes on you, Bubba — ... Read More

Biden Can’t Tax the Rich

Joe Biden’s tax plan is based on a deathless myth: that taxes are actually paid in economic terms by those upon whom they legally fall. The obviousness of this nonsense is clear enough if you put the proposition into plain English: “Don’t you worry, now, we’re not going to raise taxes on you, Bubba — ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More