Revisiting Oil Speculation - New Data

     

Last time I quoted a NPR interview with Haas professor, Severin Borenstein , regarding speculators. It behooves me to point out an article in today's WSJ that sheds new light on this:

Data emerging on players in the commodities markets show that speculators are a larger piece of the oil market than previously known, a development enlivening an already tense election-year debate about traders' influence.

Everything is still not cut and dry though and that's what makes this interesting:

The array of opinions about how speculation is affecting energy prices comes about in part because of the tricky task of determining what, exactly, is pure speculation and what is so-called commercial trading, in which companies hedge risks involved with using, selling, or processing physical commodities in their everyday businesses.

Many Wall Street investment banks, private-equity firms and hedge funds have invested in physical assets such as storage terminals, pipeline and distribution companies, power plants and oil and gas properties.

That dual role potentially puts them in the position of being both hedgers and speculators.

May be the first years will get to ask this question directly in their Microeconomics class.

—Rags

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