Nov 21

WTF?!



LONDON (MarketWatch) — The IntercontinentalExchange is probing trades in U.S. dollar index futures that briefly showed a massive 9% jump on Friday morning.

The lead contract surged as high as 82.18, up from a 75.38 close on Thursday. Such a move was improbable given that in spot markets, the dollar’s moves against major currencies such as the euro were limited to about 1%. 

The ICE agreed, and according to an exchange official, all trades above 76.50 were being cancelled. The ICE was still investigating the cause of the incident, the official said.

Dollar index futures were still elevated after the incident, up a more modest 0.7% to 75.91.

The move briefly had an impact on other markets, as futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell as much as 99 points.

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Sep 19

Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) — The Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange raised margin payments on gold and silver futures by as much as 47 percent after price swings accelerated.

The margin rate for Comex members advances to $5,500 a gold contract from today, from $3,750, the exchange said in an e- mailed statement late yesterday. The new rate for non-members is $7,425, from $5,063. One contract represents 100 ounces.

For silver futures, members will pay a margin rate of $6,000, compared with $5,000 previously. Non-members will pay $8,100, from $6,750. One silver contract represents 5,000 ounces.

The rates represent the cash traders must put aside when buying and selling the commodities. Gold surged the most in nine years on Sept. 17 while silver rose the most since 1979.

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Aug 23

For years, the data contained in the weekly Commitment of Traders Report (COT), issued by the CFTC, have indicated that several large COMEX traders have manipulated the price of silver and gold. For an equal number of years, the CFTC has reluctantly responded to public pressure over this issue with blanket denials of any wrongdoing. Many analysts have agreed with the CFTC’s position, conjuring up various ways to explain why a massive short position held by a handful of traders is not manipulative.

The recent widespread shortage of silver for retail purchase coupled with a price collapse appears to have shaken these analysts’ confidence that the COMEX silver market is operating ‘fair and square.’ Well it should, since there is no rational explanation for a significant price decline going hand in hand with product shortages other than collusive manipulation.

For any remaining doubters that COMEX silver and gold pricing is manipulated, the following CFTC data should be considered. This data is taken from a monthly report issued by the CFTC, called the Bank Participation Report. Here’s the link for the report:

http://www.cftc.gov/marketreports/bankparticipation/index.htm The relevant data is found in the July and August futures sections. I will condense it.

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Aug 22

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.

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Aug 08

“There may have been multiple ‘positions’ which were reclassified … but they all appear to have been held by just one trader, and this was a very special trader, with an enormous concentration of positions in crude oil amounting to perhaps 460 million barrels, and not much interest in anything else,” noted John Kemp of RBS Sempra Commodities.
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NEW YORK (Reuters) – A quiet data revision that has boosted by nearly 25 percent the number of oil futures contracts U.S. regulators think are held by speculators is raising eyebrows in the energy trading community.

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Aug 01

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — A bill that would put new limits on speculative trading in energy commodities failed to get the required two-third majority of votes to pass the House on Wednesday.

The vote was 276 to 151. The Commodity Markets Transparency and Accountability Act would boost staffing at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and require the agency to limit the positions of speculators in energy and agricultural commodities.

Most Republicans objected to the bill, preferring to pass legislation to open the outer continental shelf and other off-limits areas to energy exploration. Continue reading »

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Apr 27

Food riots have broken out across the globe destabilizing large parts of the developing world. China is experiencing double-digit inflation. Indonesia, Vietnam and India have imposed controls over rice exports. Wheat, corn and soy beans are at record highs and threatening to go higher still. Commodities are up across the board. The World Food Program is warning of widespread famine if the West doesn’t provide emergency humanitarian relief. The situation is dire. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez summed it up like this, “It is a massacre of the world’s poor. The problem is not the production of food. It is the economic, social and political model of the world. The capitalist model is in crisis.”

Right on, Hugo. There is no shortage of food (This is disinformation – The Infinite Unknown); it’s just the prices that are making food unaffordable. Bernanke’s “weak dollar” policy has ignited a wave of speculation in commodities which is pushing prices into the stratosphere. The UN is calling the global food crisis a “silent tsunami”, but its more like a flood; the world is awash in increasingly worthless dollars that are making food and raw materials more expensive. Foreign central banks and investors presently hold $6 trillion in dollars and dollar-backed assets, so when the dollar starts to slide, the pain radiates through entire economies. This is especially true in countries where the currency is pegged to the dollar. That’s why most of the Gulf States are experiencing runaway inflation. Continue reading »

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Apr 19

Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU’s ‘Mr Euro’, has given the clearest warning to date that the world authorities may take action to halt the collapse of the dollar and undercut commodity speculation by hedge funds.


Jean-Claude Juncker, who is calling for Washington to
take steps to halt the slide of the dollar

Momentum traders have blithely ignored last week’s accord by the G7 powers, which described “sharp fluctuations in major currencies” as a threat to economic and financial stability. The euro has surged to fresh records this week, touching $1.5982 against the dollar and £0.8098 against sterling yesterday.

“I don’t have the impression that financial markets and other actors have correctly and entirely understood the message of the G7 meeting,” he said.

Mr Juncker, who doubles as Luxembourg premier and chair of eurozone financiers, told the Luxembourg press that he had been invited to the White House last week just before the G7 at the urgent request of President George Bush. The two leaders discussed the dangers of rising “protectionism” in Europe. Mr Juncker warned that matters could get out of hand unless America took steps to halt the slide in the dollar. Continue reading »

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Apr 10

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Members of the Federal Reserve’s policy-setting committee worried at their most recent meeting that housing and financial market stress could trigger a nasty slide in the economy, even as inflation pushed higher, minutes of the meeting released on Tuesday show.

“Some believed that a prolonged and severe economic downturn could not be ruled out given the further restriction of credit availability and ongoing weakness in the housing market,” minutes of the March 18 meeting said.

Fed economists presented a somber picture of short-term prospects — central bank staff now fully expect negative growth over the first six months of the year — but held out the possibility of a modest rebound later.

“The staff projection showed a contraction of real GDP in the first half of 2008 followed by a slow rise in the second half,” the report said, referring to gross domestic product, a broad measure of a country’s output of goods and services.

At the same time, Fed officials found recent inflation reports “disappointing,” noting also with concern that some indicators of inflation expectations were edging higher. Continue reading »

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Apr 06
LONDON – Staple food prices will rise for some years, but should eventually fall to historical averages as harvests increase, biofuel company executives said on Thursday.

Soaring demand for better quality food from rapidly industrializing emerging markets such as China, supply shortages, increased demand for biofuels, and a surging appetite for food commodities by investment funds, have combined to push prices of basic foods higher and higher in recent months.

Stephane Delodder, managing partner of Netherlands-based consultancy iFuel Corporate Advisory, told a conference the problem of rising food prices would persist for some years.

Market forces should eventually help rebalance supply and demand, especially in markets which are not highly regulated, but this could take some time.

“(It could be) a few years at most before the situation returns to normal,” Delodder said.

He said grains and oilseed futures markets, which have corrected down recently after meteoric rises, may already be signaling that supply will rise as farmers raise plantings. Continue reading »

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Mar 13

Gold Futures Hit $1,000 Per Ounce Benchmark on Falling Dollar, Rising Oil Prices

NEW YORK (AP) — Gold futures hit $1,000 an ounce for the first time Thursday, pushed past the benchmark by the sinking dollar and record crude oil prices. Continue reading »

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