So the willingness of sellers to unload their oil futures, and of buyers to acquire them, sets up its own market of supply and demand that has more to do with determining the actual price of oil than even the global demand and supply for the product itself.
On May 20 of this year, Masters told Congress: “Commodities futures prices are the benchmark for the prices of actual physical commodities, so when index speculators drive futures prices higher, the effects are felt immediately in spot prices and the real economy. So there is a direct link between commodities futures prices and the prices your constituents are paying for essential goods.”
Gheit and Norman suggest that the CFTC regulate the domestic oil futures market (NYMEX) and the participation of U.S. companies in the ICE, restoring the caps on the amount of oil futures speculators can buy. Gheit also urges raising margin requirements for them.
Both worry that the oil futures bubble is going to burst and cost a lot of investors — particularly pension funds who channel their investments through the swap desks of the brokerage houses. We don’t need another sub-prime or savings-and-loan crisis on our hands right now.
The Senate recently tried to force CFTC regulation of all commodities speculators, but the bill was loaded down with a windfall profits tax, so the Republicans killed it.
John McCain needs to get with this program. In his town hall meeting in New York City last Thursday night, he attacked speculators for driving up oil prices but didn’t propose remedies or really explain the problem.
Americans will pay close attention if he does. For McCain, this is the issue and now is the time to use it.