Way back in late June, I referenced the following quote from the now indispensable Blackhedd regarding actual oversight measures directed at oil futures (non-)speculators:

Several days ago, the current CFTC commissioner announced stricter position limits and reporting requirements for US accounts trading crude oil to take effect in 120 days, even for accounts trading in London.

Coincidently, after approximately that same amount of elapsed time, crude oil prices are now back down to the range where many have maintained the “supply and demand” dictated price point should have been all along.


The lesson here seems to be that we don’t live in a Hollywood script where Joe Hero kicks in the door to catch panicked Generic Dirty Corporate Types shredding all of those incriminating documents in the middle of the night. In the real world, Joe Political Appointee wants to protect his phony baloney job (Blazing Saddles reference) so he stands outside and rattles the door knob for 120 days so that Mr. GS (see below) has ample time to clean up all the unsightly messes and wipe away any fingerprints.

(Mr. GS above is a double-secret code name used only in this second rate conspiracy theory for a very large alleged speculator who formally goes by Mr. “Not Really Doing Anything Technically Illegal But Would Certainly Go To Great Lengths To Not Let The General Public Know How Much Money He Was Making By Manipulating Commodity Markets and Driving Gas Prices Sky High In The Process”.)

To be honest, that was probably the best way to handle it…fewer waves in the market pond. But, somewhere deep down inside, I’d sure like some kind of public accountability. Even though a very large financial train wreck has drawn most of the public attention from the oil aspect of recent economic news, I will not forget all of the denials, half truths, arm waving, and garbled doublespeak pumped into the public arena through the willing mouthpieces of cable TV financial personalities. In the end, the 120-day notice may have worked as intended…quietly ending the runaway manipulation of the oil future markets while giving the “non-agenda-driven” cable talking heads and high brow bloggers the cover needed to claim with much certainty that speculators had nothing to do with any of it.

My real point here is not just to sound so conspiratorial. It is that a decade or so from now, when the real history of 2008 is written, the facts will look much different than the picture being presented to us today. Even those that are honestly trying to give us the straight story…and I’m convinced there are fewer and fewer of them every day…are probably not getting a very good view of the overall scope of a very complex issue. When we finally learn the larger truth, please remember how poorly we were served by the journalists and media outlets (financial and otherwise) of today.


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Tags: Oil