US becomes net exporter of fuel

By Gregory Meyer in New York

The US has become a net exporter of fuel for the first time for nearly 20 years as drivers struggle with high petrol prices.

Energy department data show the world’s largest oil consumer in February shipped out 54,000 barrels more petroleum products each day than it purchased on the global market.

After a five-year decline in net imports, the US became a net exporter in late 2010, a trend analysts say is confirmed by the latest data. Read more of this post


CFTC AAC Meeting

CFTC’s Agricultural Advisory Committee to Meet May 19, 2011
Committee to discuss issues concerning the Dodd-Frank Act including proposed rules on position limits, hedge exemptions, the swap dealer definition, the end user exception and margin requirements for uncleared swaps.


I.          Opening Remarks by Commissioners/Chairman (9:00)

II.        Panel One – Ag Market’s Update (9:30)

  • David Amato, Division of Market Oversight, CFTC
  • Reactions by AAC

Dodd-Frank Proposed Regulations

III.       Panel Two – Position Limits and Hedge Exemption (10:00)

  • Steve Sherrod, Division of Market Oversight, CFTC
  • Reactions by AAC

IV.       Panel Three – Swap Dealer Definition and End User Exception (11:00)

  • Mark Fajfar / Lee Ann Duffy, Office of the General Counsel, CFTC
  • Reactions by AAC

V.        Panel Four – Margin (12:00)

  • Ananda Radhakrishnan, Division of Clearing and Intermediary Oversight, CFTC
  • Reactions by AAC

VI.       Additional Business and Closing Remarks (12:40 – 1:00)

EU promises banks regulatory pause in 2013

* 2012 EU bank stress test set to be tougher

* Goldman: regulators face Everest climb with sneakers

By Huw Jones

LONDON, May 10 (Reuters) – European banks already groaning under the weight of new laws face another two years of heavy rulemaking before regulators call it a day.

The worst financial crisis since the Great Depression has sparked frenzied rulemaking to ensure taxpayers won’t be needed to shore up banks again.

“We do foresee a regulatory pause in 2013,” Martin Merlin, head of financial services policy at the European Union’s executive European Commission said. The Commission has sole powers to propose EU financial rules and is fulfilling global pledges to crack down on derivatives, hedge funds, banks and credit rating agencies.

“By the beginning of 2013 the hope is that all the rules that are needed to be put in place in light of the crisis will already be applied in EU states,” Merlin told an Economist conference.

“That will be a crucial moment to do the evaluation of how all this works.”

EU Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier is due to present draft laws on tougher bank capital, bank crisis resolution and securities trading before the summer ends.

The EU executive also expects another health check of European banks next year as the current one is due to be completed next month.

“Next year a further round of banking stress tests should take place and they should hopefully be even tougher than the 2011 stress test,” Merlin said.

Gerald Corrigan, a managing director at Goldman Sachs (GS.N) bank, said markets were already checking how banks can meet new bank capital rules that are don’t start until 2013.

“This is a healthy thing,” Corrigan said, adding that four conditions were necessary for financial stability:

— strengthened bank capital and liquidity rules;

— workable bank “living wills” or contingency plans;

— effective bank resolution powers;

— better coordination and cooperation among supervisors.

Corrigan said achieving some of these was “a little bit like climbing mount Everest with sneakers on”.

New Dodd-Frank derivatives rules essential: CFTC

By Jamila Trindle

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — New derivatives rules mandated by the Dodd-Frank financial law are essential, Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler plans to say Wednesday as debate over a bill that would delay implementation of those rules heats up in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The Dodd-Frank Act was essential in bringing this oversight, but reform will only be effective once rules are completed,” Chairman Gensler plans to say at a finance conference in Washington, according to prepared remarks.

Later on Tuesday, House Democratic lawmakers including the law’s namesake Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.) are scheduled to hold a press conference against a bill that would delay the implementation of the Dodd-Frank derivatives rules for 18 months.

The bill has already been approved by the House Agriculture Committee and will be taken up Thursday by the House Financial Services Committee. Both committees share oversight of the derivatives portion of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law, so the bill must go through both committees before the House votes on it.

The bill would push the implementation deadline for the rules to December 2012, which is a deadline put forth by the Group of 20 industrial and developing nations to rein in the nearly $600 trillion over-the-counter derivatives market. The rule-writing process has been moving more quickly in the U.S. because the Dodd-Frank financial law mandated regulators write the rules by July.

Neither the Commodity Futures Trading Commission nor the Securities and Exchange Commission, which were given the task of erecting a new regulatory scheme for over-the-counter derivatives called swaps, have asked Congress to relax the deadlines.

CFTC Chairman Gensler said the Dodd-Frank law lowers the risk that the swap market poses to the American public.

“The financial crisis demonstrated the risk to the public of ineffectively regulated swap dealers. While banks and securities firms were regulated by their prudential regulators, their affiliates that traded swaps often were left ineffectively regulated — that was the case for Lehman Brothers and AIG,” Gensler said in remarks prepared for Wednesday.

Senators demand CFTC tackle oil speculation

(Reuters) – In a sign Congress may be losing patience with the U.S. futures regulator and high energy prices, lawmakers demanded on Wednesday the agency immediately crack down on excessive speculation in crude oil markets by hastening planned rules to limit concentration.

A group of 17 senators, in a letter to the chairman and commissioners at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said they wanted the agency to unveil a plan by May 23 to impose position limits in all energy futures markets, beginning with crude oil. The agency has already proposed such limits as part of the financial reform, but has not finalized them.

Continue reading here.

Obama Nominates Senate Aide Wetjen as CFTC Commissioner

By Silla Brush

President Barack Obama said he will nominate Mark P. Wetjen, senior policy adviser to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid since 2004, to become a member of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Wetjen, whose nomination is subject to Senate confirmation, would replace Michael V. Dunn, a Democrat whose term expires June 19. The CFTC, which is writing derivatives regulations under the Dodd-Frank Act, currently has three Democrats including Chairman Gary Gensler and two Republican members.

“He is a true phenomenon whose profound understanding of the complexities of how the market affects consumers, taxpayers and homeowners will benefit our nation tremendously,” Reid said in a statement. “I look forward to his swift confirmation.” Read more of this post

Key House Lawmakers Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Update CFTC Cost-Benefit Analysis

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representatives Mike Conaway (R-TX), Leonard Boswell (D-IA), Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Mike Quigley (D-IL), and Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) introduced legislation (H.R. 1840), to improve the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) existing cost-benefit analysis (CBA) of its regulations and orders. H.R. 1840 would more align the Commission’s CBA to reflect the President’s Executive Order, issued in January. The CFTC is an independent agency; therefore, they are currently excluded from the President’s Executive Order.   Read more of this post