Speculative energy traders are not the only ones who may face new trading limits by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. On Thursday as the
CFTC unveiled the proposed new limits for energy products, its chairman, Gary Gensler (pictured left), said the agency intends to move on to looking
at metals next. "The commission is interested in hearing from the public as to issues related to the trading of futures and options in the precious
metals markets, such as silver and gold, and to consider the appropriateness of position limits in those markets," Gensler said at an open meeting.
"I hope to have a public meeting on this separate topic in the beginning of March."... The proposal does not propose limits for metals, but it seeks
comments from the public on potentially imposing similar cumulative-type limits in other commodities including metals and agricultural products like
coffee and sugar. CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton said he supports position limits for metals, and he was disappointed the CFTC is not able to propose
limits for them at the same time. - Dow Jones News
Dominant Social Theme: Gold is a bubble?
Free-Market Analysis: So it comes down to this. The American CFTC which runs gold and silver trading is concerned about "speculative bubbles" and is
determined to get ahead of the curve. It may impose limits on how much metal can be purchased, in aggregate, on any given day or even set up a trading
band that cannot be breached day-to-day. Who knows? The concern is generated by the meltdown of stock markets and fiat-money driven investing
generally is said to have generated the CFTC's interest in limiting speculation on a variety of commodities. Where the CFTC goes, by the way, others
throughout the West, and even Asia, etc., shall likely follow.
From the point of view of the esteemed Ted Butler, whom we have interviewed, it is the concentration of short positions that would be most affected by
position limits. He has written the following (October '09):
My suggestion is that, in light of my new gold versus silver position limit calculations today, the Chairman should direct the CME to publicly explain
why the all-months-combined position limit in COMEX silver should not be immediately reduced to 1500 contracts. After all, the CME’s own white paper
lays out the formula approach and lists the variable inputs; volume, open interest and deliverable supplies. It is my further suggestion that the
Chairman call upon Commissioners Dunn and Sommers to offer the same public explanation, in light of their clear support of the CME’s general
position. It is an explanation I am sure many would be interested in hearing.
If and when the all-months-combined hard position limit in COMEX silver is reduced to 1500 contracts, the issue of the big concentrated short position
will be exposed for the fraud and manipulation that it has been all along. Whether it is one big US bank (JPMorgan) holding 30,000 contracts, or the
four largest traders holding 15,500 contracts each on average, a 1500 contract limit will prove just how outrageous and excessive these big silver
short positions have been. And if the CME or the dissenting commissioners don’t have the moxie to step forward with a public defense of the 6,000
contract current limit, the chairman should make the big shorts do so themselves. Drag these big shorts out into the sunshine and have them explain
why only 4 traders make up the entire commercial silver net short position. Now that would be real transparency.
We agree, perhaps, with Butler's position from a standpoint of practicality, though from a free-market perspective, we would always rather see
markets opened up rather than further limited and controlled. Also, we wonder if somehow the limits will end up affecting gold and silver on the up
side, while somehow exempting the short-side positions of the very biggest players (J