WASHINGTON The Commodity Futures Trading Commission on June 17 set new conditions for ICE Futures Europe to give access to U.S. customers trading the benchmark West Texas Instrument oil futures contract.
In a statement, the CFTC said it now requires ICE Futures Europe to provide the same position limits that apply to those who trade the West Texas Intermediary crude oil contract in the U.S.
ICE Futures Europe is a subsidiary of Atlanta-based IntercontinentalExchange Inc. but is regarded as a foreign market in the U.S. As such, it is not subject to the same rules applying to Nymex regarding position limits.
The CFTC is also seeking comment on an ICE petition to determine whether the U.K. Financial Services Authority has appropriate standards to supervise alternative energy markets.
CFTC Acting Chairman Walter Lukken also said at a House hearing June 17 that the CFTC would report to Congress by Sept. 15 on an agency investigation into what impact commodity index trading might be having on U.S. energy prices.
Some lawmakers are concerned that commodity index trading by pension funds and other institutional investors might be fueling higher energy prices in the U.S.
Increasing evidence shows that the run-up in crude oil prices and gasoline is being driven by larger trader banks, pension and hedge funds, said Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., in a news release after the hearing. The announcement ... that CFTC is now going to require more complete disclosure of speculative trading information is critical to stopping the excessive speculation and market manipulation that is driving up gasoline prices, added Mr. Durbin, who chairs the Senate appropriations subcommittee that oversees the CFTC's budget.