Groups Call for Action on Energy Speculation

June 5, 2009

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As oil prices rose over $70 per barrel last week and Goldman Sachs raised its forecast for oil prices, the American Trucking Associations joined a coalition of trade associations asking Congress to rein in excessive speculation in the commodities markets.

ATA joined a broad coalition of 79 other trade associations in sending a letter urging Congress to bring full transparency in the commodities markets and prevent excessive speculation.

Energy commodity prices have surged recently, even though the demand for petroleum products has declined significantly and supplies of crude oil are plentiful.

Friday, oil prices rose above $70 a barrel for the first time since October, after a U.S. Labor Department report showed the number of layoffs fell in May. Brokerage and market analysis firm Goldman Sachs raised its oil price forecast for 2009 to $59 a barrel from $50 a barrel and for 2010 to $80 a barrel from $70 a barrel.

"Absent strong and sweeping reform, we will continue to witness extreme price volatility and excessive speculation," said the letter from The Commodity Markets Oversight Coalition to congressional leaders. "Trading will continue to grow in 'dark' or unregulated markets and investment speculators will continue to elude federal oversight, data reporting requirements and position limits."

The letter recommends several actions, including establishing aggregate position limits, requiring reporting of over-the-counter trades, closing various trading loopholes and subjecting these trading platforms to regulatory oversight, and requiring a review of emerging environmental markets, including emissions trading products.

Other members of the coalition include various oil marketer, retailer, agricultural and consumer groups, including the National Association of Truck Stop Operators.

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