Even baby steps deserve some recognition

By bgrossmancohen

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Today the CFTC announced approval of its “final rule” to regulate excessive commodity speculation.  Just last week 461 economists urged in a letter to the commissioners of the CFTC to take “urgent action” against excessive speculation.  In response to today’s vote, Gawain Kripke, Research and Policy Director for Oxfam America said:

“Even baby steps deserve some recognition, but adults should already know how to walk.  After being bombarded by a well-funded lobbying campaign on behalf of the Wall Street banks and hedge funds that have turned our food system into a casino, the CFTC has taken the absolute minimum level of action necessary to begin to address excessive speculation on commodities.

“Economists agree that excessive speculation has contributed to record spikes in food prices and increasing hunger and poverty for tens of millions of people in the US and around the world.  A short sigh of relief must be followed by robust and vocal support from the Obama administration for actions by the EU and other G20 nations to take their own steps to address excessive speculation.  The CFTC must use the authority granted in the Dodd-Frank act to implement stronger measures and Congress and the Administration should take steps to ensure the rules are strengthened in the near future.”

Read the economists’ letter HERE.

For more information go to: www.oxfamamerica.org/grow

/ENDS

Notes to editors:


Full Text of Letter:
10 October 2011
 
Dear G20 Finance Ministers,
cc:Michel Barnier, European commissioner for internal market and services
Commissioners from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission

We write to you to urge you to commit with your counterparts to take effective action to
curb excessive speculation on food commodities. Excessive financial speculation is
contributing to increasing volatility and record food prices, exacerbating global hunger
and poverty.

While there are many pressures on food prices, fundamental changes in supply and
demand cannot fully account for the dramatic price fluctuations that have occurred in
recent years. 

In June, a report for the G20 by international organizations including the IMF and the
OECD noted that “too much speculation can cause frequent and erratic price changes” in
futures markets. It would appear that the enormous increase in commodity speculation
since 2003 is unnecessary to meet hedging demand or promote pricing efficiency. In
fact, excessive speculation undermines the price discovery function of futures markets,
driving key commodity prices away from levels determined by supply and demand.
Evidence from the UN Conference on Trade and Development suggests that financial
speculators are less likely to base trading decisions on information regarding supply and
demand and are more prone to herding behaviors than commercial traders.

The High Level Panel of Experts on food security for the Committee on World Food
Security at the FAO reported in July that “tighter regulation of speculation is necessary.”
The panel suggested that “Increasing transparency, by requiring exchange trading and
clearing of most agricultural commodity contracts, and setting lower limits for non-
commercial actors could be the first set of measures taken by the countries that house
major commodity exchanges.”
 
Given the volume of off-exchange trading and the lack of public reporting from some
commodity exchanges, increasing market transparency is vital, but will not go far enough
to tackle excessive financial speculation. We therefore urge you to support the
establishment of position limits to cap the proportion of agricultural commodity
derivatives markets that can be held by financial speculators. Limits could be set at a
level that would maintain sufficient liquidity in the markets while preventing an excessive
concentration of purely financial actors. The US has already passed legislation including
provisions to introduce such limits and the G20 should act to prevent regulatory arbitrage
between exchanges.
 
Position limits would be more effective in tackling excessive speculation than position
management powers, which rely on the use of judgement by exchanges and provide little
assurance that powers will be exercised effectively. Clear limits would provide regulatory
certainty, promoting stable and sustainable derivatives markets to the benefit of food
producers, consumers and broader economic stability.
 
With around 1 billion people enduring chronic hunger worldwide, action is urgently
needed to curb excessive speculation and its effects on global food prices.
 
Yours sincerely,
Mr Abdulhafiz Ahmed Abdisubhan, Finance and Economic Development Bureau,
ETHIOPIA
Charles Abugre, Regional Director (Africa), The United Nations Millennium Campaign,
Nairobi, KENYA
Prof Nicola Acocella, Department of Methods and Models for Economics, Territory and
Finance, Faculty of Economics, University of Rome, ITALY
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Eskisehir, TURKEY
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Prof Simon Mohun, Emeritus Professor of Political Economy, Queen Mary, University of
London, UK
Prof Mario Morroni, Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, University of
Pisa, ITALY
Dr John Morrow, Research Economist, CEP at London School of Economics, UK
Dr Tracy Mott, Associate Professor and Department Chair of Economics, University of
Denver, USA
Prof Sam Moyo, African Institute for Agrarian Studies (AIAS), ZIMBABWE
Prof Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science,
York University, Toronto, CANADA
Richard Murphy, Director, Tax Research UK
Sreeram Mushty, Freelance Economist & Chartered Accountant, MS Sastri Chambers,
Vijayawada, INDIA
Shri Sanat Kumar Naik, Economist, State Bank of India, INDIA
Nitya Nanda, Fellow, Centre for Global Agreements, Legislation and Trade (GALT),
Resources, Regulation and Global Security Division, The Energy and Resources Institute
(TERI), New Delhi, INDIA
Dr Corinne Nativel, Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences, University of Franche-Comté,
FRANCE
Prof Vincent Navarro, Professor of Public Policy, The Johns Hopkins University, USA
Dr Ioana Negru, Senior Lecturer in Economics, Anglia Ruskin University, UK
Dr Michaela Neumayr, Economist, Vienna University of Economics and Business,
AUSTRIA
Paul Newlin, Lecturer, Environmental Policy, Amherst College & University of
Massachusetts, USA
Dr Howard Nicholas, Senior Lecturer in Economics, Eurasmus University of Rotterdam,
NETHERLANDS
Prof Eric Nilsson, Professor of Economics, California State University, USA
Prof Augusto Ninni, Professor of Industrial Organization at the University of Parma,
ITALY
Prof Machiko Nissanke, Professor of Economics, SOAS, University of London, UK
Dr Hassan E. Oaikhenan, Department of Economics & Statistics University of Benin,
NIGERIA
Prof Mehmet Odekon, Professor of Economics, Skidmore College, USA
Prof Rod O'Donnell, Professor of Economics, University of Technology, Sydney,
AUSTRALIA
Samuel O. Oloruntoba, Doctoral Candidate and Lecturer, Department of Political
Science, University of Lagos, NIGERIA
Dr Wendy Olsen, Senior Lecturer in Socio-Economic Research, University of
Manchester, UK
Prof Mojubaolu Olufunke Okome, Professor of Political Science, Brooklyn College,
CUNY, New York, USA
Prof G. Omkarnath, Department of Economics, University of Hyderabad, INDIA
Dr Ozlem Onaran, Senior Lecturer in Economics, University of Westminster, UK
Prof Ahmet Oncu, Professor of Economics, Sabanci University, TURKEY
Noemi Levy Orlik, Economic Lecturer, School of Economics, UNAM, MEXICO
Dr Quentin Outram, Senior Lecturer in Economics, Leeds University Business School,
UK
Dr Carlos Oya, Senior Lecturer in Political Economy of Development, School of African
and Oriental Studies, University of London, UK
Dr Adam Ozanne, Senior Lecturer in Economics, University of Manchester, UK
Prof Mustafa Ozer, Professor of Economics, Anadolu University, TURKEY
Dr Ilhan Ozturk, Assistant Professor and Coordinator, International Relations &
Erasmus, Cag University, TURKEY
Dr Aaron Pacitti, Assistant Professor of Economics, Siena College, USA
Adel Paighami, Dean of Interdisciplinary Research Center for Social Sciences,
Economics Faculty, Imam Sadiq University, IRAN
Dr Parthapratim Pal, Associate Professor of Economics, Indian Institute of Management
Calcutta, INDIA
Radhakrushna Panda, Senior Research Officer, Centre for Microfinance Research,
Bankers Institute of Rural Development, INDIA
Prof Dimitri Papadimitriou, President and Professor of Economics, Levy Economics
Institute, New York, USA
Prof Man Seop Park, Professor of Economics, Korea University, SOUTH KOREA
Dr Raj Patel, Author and Research Fellow, School of Development Studies, University of
KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, SOUTH AFRICA
Prof Ruth Pearson, Professor of International Development, University of Leeds, UK
Jamie Peck, Research Chair in Urban and Regional Political Economy, University of
British Columbia, CANADA
Prof Fernando Pellerano, Professor of Economics, Universidad Autónoma de Santo
Domingo, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Dr Michael Perelman, Economics Department, CA
Prof Virginie Pérotin, Professor of Economics, Leeds University Business School, UK
Dr Karl Petrick, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Western New England
University USA
Ann Pettifor, Director of Policy Research in Macroeconomics, UK
Dr Lynda J. Pickbourn, Assistant Professor of Economics, Keene State College, USA
Prof J F Pixley, Honary Professorial Research Fellow, Global Policy Institute, London
Metropolitan University, UK
Prof Robert Pollin, Department of Economics and Political Economy Research Institute
(PERI), University of Massachusetts-Amherst, USA
Prof Alexander Cotte Poveda, Professor of Economics, University of La Salle, USA
Ms Sajin Prachason, Sustainable Agriculture Foundation, THAILAND
Prof Eleuterio F. S. Prado, Professor of Political Economy, University of Sao Paulo,
BRAZIL
Prof Robert E. Prasch, Professor of Economics,Middlebury College, USA
Dr Renee Prendergast, Reader, Queen's University Management School, Belfast,
NORTHERN IRELAND
David Primack, Executive Director, International Lawyers and Economists Against
Poverty (ILEAP), CANADA
Prof Adam Przeworski, Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor, Department of Politics, New
York University, USA
Prof Alicia Puyana Mutis, Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences, Flasco, MEXICO
Mr Hugo Radice, Life Fellow, School of Politics and International Studies, University of
Leeds, UK
Dr Kunibert Raffer, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, University of
Vienna, AUSTRIA
Prof Indira Rajaraman, Honorary Visiting Professor, Indian Statistical Institute, INDIA
Prof V. K. Ramachandran, Professor, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, INDIA
Prof K.V. Ramaswamy, Professor, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research,
INDIA
Prof Paolo Ramazzotti, Professor of Economic Policy, University of Macerata, ITALY
Prof D. Narasimha Reddy, Professor of Economics, University of Hyderabad, INDIA
Howard Reed, Director, Landman Economics
Prof Michael Reich, Professor of Economics and Director of Institute for Research on
Labour and Employment, University of California at Berkeley, USA
Prof Colin Richardson, Adjunct Professor of Economics Centre for International
Security Studies, University of Sydney, AUSTRALIA
Prof Christopher Ritson, Professor Emeritus, Trustee Director of the Food Ethics
Council and Professor of Agricultural Marketing, Newscastle University Agricultural
Building, UK
Prof Michael T. Rock, Samuel and Etta Wexler Professor of Economic History, Bryn
Mawr College, USA
Dr Leopoldo Rodriguez, Associate Professor in International Development Studies,
Portland State University, USA
Prof Alessandro Roncaglia, Professor of Economics, Sapienza University of Rome,
ITALY
Prof Sergio Rossi, Professor of Economics, University of Fribourg, SWITZERLAND
Prof Roy J. Rotheim, Professor of Economics, Skidmore College, New York, US
Dr B. P. Syam Roy, IAS (Retd), West Bengal, INDIA
Prof Guillermo Rozenwurcel, Director of IDEAS Centre, San Martin National University,
ARGENTINA
Dr Kobil Ruziev, Lecturer in Economics, Programme Director MSc Banking and
Financial Regulation, School of Management and Business Aberystywth University, UK
Muhammad Sabir, Principal Economist, Social Policy and Development Centre,
PAKISTAN
Dr Peter Sai-Wing Ho, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Denver, USA
Prof Wiemer Salverda, Director of AIAS, and special Chair Labour Market and
Inequality, University of Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS
Dr Wiemer Salverda, General Director of AIAS, and special Chair Labour Market and
Inequality, University of Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS
Dr Diego Sanchez-Ancochea, University Lecturer in the Political Economy of Latin
America, University of Oxford, UK
Dr Sankersan Sarkar, Assistant Professor of Finance, NIIT University, Rajasthan, INDIA
Prof Rubens R. Sawaya, Professor of Economics, Sao Paul Catholic Pontificia
University, BRAZIL
Prof Malcolm Sawyer, Professor of Economics, University of Leeds, UK
Dr Harwood D. Schaffer, Research Assistant Professor, Agricultural Policy Analysis
Center, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Tennessee
Institute of Agriculture, USA
Prof Hans Schenk, Chaired Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, Utrecht
University, NETHERLANDS
Dr Ted P. Schmidt, Associate Professor of Economics and Finance SUNY, USA
Karin Schoenpflug, Economist, Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Vienna,
AUSTRIA
Dr Evert Schoorl, Economist and Director of graduate studies, Groningen University,
NETHERLANDS
Dr Juliet Schor, Phd Economics, Boston College, USA
Dr Molly Scott Cato, Reader in Green Economics, Cardiff School of Management, UK
Prof Mario Seccareccia, Department of Economics, University of Ottawa, Ontario,
CANADA
Prof Stephanie Seguino, Department of Economics, University of Vermont, USA
Professor Sunanda Sen, Visiting Professor, Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi,
INDIA
Dr Esther-Mirjam Sent, Professor of Economics at Radboud University, Nijmegen, the
Netherlands and Member of the Senate of the Netherlands, NETHERLANDS
Prof Ardeshir Sepehri, Professor of Economics, University of Manitoba, CANADA
Dr John Serieux, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Manitoba, CANADA
Prof Mark Setterfield, Professor of Economics and Chair Department of Economics,
Trinity Colelge, Hartford, USA
Prof Anwar Shaikh, Professor of Economics, New School of Social Research, New
York, USA
Reader Benjamin Shepherd, Food Security in Asia Program, Centre for International
Security Studies, University of Sydney, AUSTRALIA
Prof Tokutaro, Shibata, Professor of Economics, University of Tokyo, JAPAN
Sabira Ahamed Shine, Research Associate, ICSSR Research Project, School of
Management Studies, Cocin University of Science and Technology, INDIA
Dr Chen Shuoying, Assistant Professor, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, CHINA
Dr Kalim Siddiqui, Senior Lecturer in International Economics, Business School,
University of Huddersfield, UK
Prof Francesco Silva, Professor of Economics, Milano-Bicocca University, ITALY
Prof Maria Luiza Falcão Silva, Professor of Economics, University of Brasilia, BRAZIL
Dr John Simister, Department of Economics, SOAS, University of London, UK
Dr John Simister, Senior teaching fellow, Economics department, School of Oriental and
African Studies, University of London, UK
Dr Pritam Singh, Reader in Economics, Oxford Brookes University, UK
Prof Anna Soci, Professor of Economics at the University of Bologna, ITALY
Prof Funmi Soetan, Professor of Economics and Director at Center for Gender and
Social Policy Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University, NIGERIA
Dr Stefano Solari, Associate Professor of Political Economy, Padova University, ITALY
Dr  Somannavar, Department of Economics, KLE Society's Lingaraj College, Karnataka,
INDIA
Prof Cem Somel, Professor of Economics, Abant Izzet Baysal University, TURKEY
Dr Godwin Sree Kulakkal, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Government
College for Women, Kerala, INDIA
Prof Ravi S. Srivastava, Professor of Economics, Centre for the Study of Regional
Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, INDIA
Dr Eduardo Stachman, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Sao Paul State
University, BRAZIL
Prof Howard Stein, Professor of Development Economics, Afroamerican and African
Studies, University of Michigan, USA
Prof Engelbert Stockhammer, Professor of Economics, Kingston University, UK
Dr Servaas Storm, Department of Economics of Innovation, Delft University of
Technology, Delft, NETHERLANDS
Dr Eduardo Strachman, Assistant Professor of Economics, Sao Paulo State University,
BRAZIL
Larry D. Su, Senior Lecturer, School of Business, University of Greenwich, UK
Dr David Sunderland, Reader and Principal Lecturer, University of Greenwich, UK
Prof Madhura Swaminathan, Indian Statistical Institute, INDIA
Dr Valeria Szekeres, Associate Professor of Economics, Obuda University, Budapest,
HUNGARY
Dr Szabolcs Szikszai, Senior Lecturer in Finance and Economics, University of
Pannonia, HUNGARY
Prof Giulio Tagliavini, Professor of Business Finance, Parma University, ITALY
Prof Haruhito Takeda, Economic Historian, Faculty of Economics, Tokyo University,
Japan
Dr John M. Talbot, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Department of Sociology, Psychology
and Social Work University of the West Indies, JAMAICA
Dr Jeff Tan, Assistant Professor of Development Studies, Aga Khan University, UK
Prof Ke Tang, Hanqing Advanced Institute of Economics and Finance and School of
Finance,  Renmin University of China, CHINA
Dr Pavlina R. Tcherneva, Assistant Professor of Economics, Franklin and Marshall
College, USA
Dr Khemarat T. Teerasuwannajak, Department of Economics, Chulalongkorn
University, THAILAND
Bilge Terzioglu, Department of Economics, Isik University, Istanbul, TURKEY
Dr Jose Rafael Tesoro, Lecturer in Economics, University of Buenos Aires,
ARGENTINA
Mr Albin Thaarcis, Assistant Professor of Economics, St Xavier’s College, INDIA
Dr Frank Thompson, Lecturer in Economics, Residential College, University of
Michigan, USA
Prof Mario Tiberi, Professor of Political Economy, Sapienza, University of Rome, ITALY
Dr Gunther Tichy, Austrian Institute of Economic Research, AUSTRIA
Prof Chris Tilly, Professor of Urban planning and sociology and Director, Institute for
Research on Labor and Employment UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
Dr Zdravka Todorova, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Raj Soin College
of Business, Wright State University, Ohio, USA
Prof Mario Tonveronachi, Professor of Financial Systems, University of Siena, ITALY
Prof Jan Toporowski, Professor of Economics and Finance, School of Oriental and
African Studies, University of London, UK
Prof Mariano Torras, Professor of Economics, Adelphi University, USA
Dr Andres Torres, Distinguished Lecturer, Department of Latin American and Puerto
Rican Studies, Lehman College/CUNY, New York, USA
Dr Oscar Ugarteche, Institute of Economic Investigations, UNAM, Ciudad University,
MEXICO,
Dr Mehmet Ugur, Reader in Political Economy, International Business and Economics,
University of Greenwich Business School, UK
Prof Vittorio Valli, Professor of Economic Policy, Turin University, ITALY
Prof Rolph van der Hoeven, Professor of Employment and Development Economics,
International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Erasmus University, NETHERLANDS
Prof Irene van Staveren, Professor of Pluralist Development Economics, ISS, Erasmus
University Rotterdam, NETHERLANDS
Dr Elisa Van Waeyenberge, Lecturer in Economics, School of Oriental and African
Studies, University of London, UK
Roberto Veneziani, Senior Lecturer, School of Economics and Finance, Queen Mary
University of London, UK
Dr Matías Vernengo, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Utah, USA
Dr Rudi von Arnim, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Utah, USA
Andrew Watt, Senior Researcher in Economics, European Trade Union Institute
Prof John Weeks, Professor Emeritus of Economics, School of Oriental and African
Studies, UK
Dr Scott A. Weir, Wake Technical Community College, Raleigh, NC, USA
Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director of Center for Economic and Policy Research, Washington,
USA
Prof Thomas E. Weisskopf, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Michigan,
USA
Prof Philip B. Whyman, Director, Lancashire Institute for Economic and Business
Research, University of Central Lancashire, UK
Dr Jeannette Wicks-Lim, Assistant Research Professor, Political Economy Research
Institute, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA
Prof Rorden Wilkinson, Professor of International Political Economy, School of Social
Sciences and Research Director, Brooks World Poverty Institute, University of
Manchester, UK
Timothy A. Wise, Director, Research and Policy Program, Global Development and
Environment Institute, Tufts University, Medford, USA
Dr Martin Wolfson, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame, USA
Prof Enrico Wolleb, Director ISMERI EUROPA, Roma, ITALY
Dr Andrew Wood, Reader in Finance, Essex Business School, University of Essex, UK
Prof Chenggang Xu, Quoin Professor in Economic Development, University of Hong
Kong, HONG KONG
Prof Mo Yamin, Professor of International Business, Manchester Business School, UK
Dr Yavuz Yasar, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, University of Denver,
USA
Prof Erhan Yildirim, Department of Economics, Cukurova University, Adana, TURKEY
Prof Brigitte Young, Institute for Political Science, University of Muenster, GERMANY
Dr Elizabeth Young, Lecturer in Food and Agriculture, University of Staffordshire, UK
Dr June Zaccone, Associate Professor of Economics (Emerita), Hofstra University
Hempstead, New York, USA
Prof Angelika Zahrnt, Professor of Economics, Bund fur Umwelt und Naturschutz,
GERMANY
Nimrod Zalk, Deputy Director-General, Industrial Development Division, Department of
Trade and Industry, SOUTH AFRICA
Dr Luisa Zanchi, Lecturer in Economics, University of Leeds, UK