Commodity traders face size limits


In 1979, Nelson Bunker Hunt and William Hunt famously bought up as much silver as they could in the commodities market.

By the time they were done, the brothers had acquired more than a third of the world’s supply of silver, sending the price of the precious metal soaring.

The New York Times reports that, citing the Hunt brothers’ attempt to corner the market more than three decades ago, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Tuesday voted 3 to 1 to limit the size of any trader’s footprint in the commodities market.

It is the second time that the commission has voted on a proposal for so-called 'position limit' rules. The commission proposed a rule on 18th October 2011, that was rejected by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia last year, after two Wall Street trade organizations filed a lawsuit contending that the rule would cause prices to swing wildly.

Gary Gensler, the chairman of the commission, said on Tuesday that the new position limits would 'help to protect the markets both in times of clear skies, price discovery functions, certainly, as well as when there’s a storm on the horizon'.

Bart Chilton, a member of the commission who has been a strong advocate of the limitations, said of the proposal: 'I’m reminded of the old Etta James song, ‘At Last.’ At last we’ve got this rule here'. Chilton also announced on Tuesday that he would “at last” be leaving the commission, without giving any further details.

To access the complete New York Times article hit the link below

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