Biggest Market Rigger Is Government Itself
Chris Powell of GATA
As gasoline prices passed $4 per gallon in Connecticut, Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Rep. Joseph D. Courtney joined President Obama in denouncing “speculators” and urging investigation of manipulation in the oil market. There are a few problems with this.
First is that such investigations have been undertaken before, including investigations by Blumenthal himself during his 20 years as Connecticut’s attorney general, and they never found anything more than the OPEC oil producer cartel’s public but uneven efforts to support the oil price. Anti-competitive as its activity is, OPEC’s formation a half century ago was only a defensive response to the rigging of the currency markets by Western central banks and particularly by the U.S. Treasury Department and Federal Reserve, which were manipulating the value of the world reserve currency, the dollar, the international means of payment for oil, long before OPEC began to try to manipulate the oil price.
The second problem is that there are always speculators in all major markets. There were speculators in the oil market when gasoline last went to $4, in the summer of 2008, again when it crashed to $1.65 at the end of that year, and ever since then as it has risen back to $4. Big players in commodity markets can get away with a lot of manipulation because regulation by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission is so weak, but as the biggest players are investment banks allied with the government, which wants lower commodity prices, much of that manipulation is actually downward.
Third, and most important, the value of the U.S. dollar as measured in other currencies has fallen about 13 percent over the last year, hitting its lowest point since the dollar’s last link to gold was broken in 1971. The dollar’s fall reflects the U.S. government’s long mismanagement of its finances and the nation’s economy.