The House Ag Committee met to review dramatic movements in agriculture and energy commodity markets Thursday. Acting Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Walter Lukken was the sole witness. Lukken's testimony came as the CFTC released a report that offers data on commodity swap dealers and index traders.
The data may actually call into question the claims that index investors pushed prices to record highs this summer. In the wake of the report the CFTC is calling for new classification of certain speculators, new reporting from over-the-counter markets and greater transparency.
Senate Ag Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, welcomed the report and the CFTC's recommendations Thursday. He says the CFTC is rightly taking action with oversight, but says the agency can and should go further. He says the report doesn't quantify the amount of speculative trading occurring in the futures markets. He says Congress can't wait for the definitive answer to the issue and needs to pass legislation to require CFTC to impose appropriate position limits on exchange-traded energy futures contracts and to authorize limits on over-the-counter transactions.