Speculation Legislation May Impact Agriculture

The Senate is discussing a bill that would regulate futures speculation.

Last week the Senate began discussing a bill on the speculation of futures markets. The bill would place more regulations on energy futures trading and would differentiate between trades by producers and buyers of physical commodities and those of speculators such as investment banks. While the primary focus of the bill is on energy futures, Ag Secretary Ed Schafer says the ag sector may be interested in the bill.

"Some of the legislation that is being talked about would indicate that if somebody traded in the commodity programs, they'd have to actually take possession of those commodities," Schafer says.

Many are trying to get a handle on just how speculation impacts the marketplace, but Schafer says the key to this bill or other legislation is whether or not it will make a difference in the markets.

"If they can find some way to do so, then we'll see if we can give some technical expertise to help," Schafer says.

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