Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo plans to propose changes this year to derivatives regulation under the Dodd-Frank Act. The goal is to "better align to inherent market dynamics, fully allow US swap intermediaries to fairly compete in world markets and begin to reverse the tide of global market fragmentation," he says.
Dismissing the Trump administration's stated security justification for imposing stiff tariffs on steel and aluminum, China's Commerce Ministry said it would respond with "strong" measures. "The misuse of the 'national security exception' clause by the United States destroys the multilateral international trade order espoused by the WTO, and China will firmly oppose it," said Wang Hejun, who leads the ministry's trade remedy and investigation bureau.
The Senate has passed a bill that would revise the Dodd-Frank Act to ease rules for small banks. House Republicans say they plan to add provisions, though Democrats say major changes could jeopardize bipartisan support.
Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Randal Quarles said at a banking conference that the Volcker rule is "a complex regulation that is not working well" and that regulators are working "with dispatch" to simplify it. Quarles said the Fed is also considering easing restrictions on how foreign banks operating in the US can invest in foreign funds.
Supported in part by optimism over trade, the Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer last month climbed to its second-highest level in two years. A specific query on NAFTA, however, yielded a decidedly mixed outlook for continued US participation.
Short selling is returning to the oil market as traders worry a surge in US production could lead to oversupply. Hedge funds are increasing positions that prices on West Texas Intermediate crude will fall in light of record-high production.
The London gold market's five settlement banks are overhauling rules to let members join in hopes of making the market more transparent and competitive. The restructuring is also designed to "provide additional safeguards to the market in the form of revised rules incorporating the latest anti-bribery and corruption provisions," says London Bullion Market Association CEO Ruth Crowell.
Shanghai International Energy Exchange is set to launch crude oil futures contracts March 26, opening China's commodity markets to foreign traders and challenging the US dollar's status as the oil-market currency. However, experts say it will take years for the yuan to influence the oil market.
Noble Group, formerly the largest commodity trader in Asia, has a complex and potentially controversial restructuring plan to survive turmoil and debt. The plan, backed by an ad hoc investor group that includes hedge funds, eases imminent demand for a substantial debt repayment but leaves bondholders significantly out of pocket.
Commodity trading advisers saw a 6.4% price drop in February, the worst month in 17 years, according to Societe General. Funds did not react quickly enough to the equity market, says Quest Partners founder Nigol Koulajian, and strategies that have worked in the past are "unlikely to work in coming years."
None other than Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has expressed reservations about China's official GDP number, with Li suggesting three alternative measures, writes Erik Norland, senior economist of CME Group. By these -- the annual growth pace of outstanding bank loans, electricity usage and rail freight -- growth appears a good deal more volatile than GDP indicates, providing a superior gauge for commodity investors.