EU told rules on commodity price speculation risk losing their teeth

By Barbara Lewis and Huw Jones BRUSSELS/LONDON, May 21 (Reuters) – New European Union rules to crack down on speculation in food and other commodity prices risk being watered down during final negotiations over detail, campaigners said on Thursday. Following the United States‘ lead, the 28-country bloc will set limits on how big a position traders can hold in grains, oil and other commodities to avoid undue influence over prices. The details of the so-called position limits are being hammered out behind closed doors in Brussels, with the next technical meeting set for Tuesday. The limits are part of a wider revision of EU securities rules known as MiFID II to take effect in January 2017. Although agreed last year, the legislation needs to be followed up with technical implementation law, expected to be agreed by the end of this year. A 500-page draft prepared by the EU markets watchdog European Securities and Markets Authority proposes that national watchdogs would calculate a position limit for a commodity derivative based on 25 percent of the deliverable supply. A separate clause gives the national authorities the power to increase or decrease the baseline position by 15 percent, making 40 percent the maximum. … continue reading

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