Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Speculators?... What Oil Speculators???

A number of people (experts as well as the general public) had sneaking suspicions that a large part of the reason oil prices went through the roof this summer (along with certain foreign countries purposely slowing down supply) is because of speculators messing with the market.

Some other people have been laughing off the idea that speculators were part of the problem. (Hugh Hewitt being one of these people, stating as much on his daily radio program.) They said that it's purely supply and demand (which would normally be the case, but doesn't make sense when market prices triple in less than a few years while global demand hadn't increased anywhere near that level during the same period). They said that "the market" is just doing it's thing and will adjust itself just fine.

Hmmmm.... guess what???
"Regulators had long classified a private Swiss energy conglomerate called Vitol as a trader that primarily helped industrial firms that needed oil to run their businesses.

"But when the Commodity Futures Trading Commission examined Vitol's books last month, it found that the firm was in fact more of a speculator, holding oil contracts as a profit-making investment rather than a means of lining up the actual delivery of fuel. Even more surprising to the commodities markets was the massive size of Vitol's portfolio -- at one point in July, the firm held 11 percent of all the oil contracts on the regulated New York Mercantile Exchange.

"The discovery revealed how an individual financial player had gained enormous sway over the oil market without the knowledge of regulators. Other CFTC data showed that a significant amount of trading activity was concentrated in the hands of just a few speculators."

Read the whole thing.

I like you, Hugh. But sometimes you're all wet. Like you were during the lead-up to the '06 elections. Like you were over the past year as a Romney shill. Like you are now with the oil prices.

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