CFTC to examine limits on metals

CFTC Announces Participants for Public Meeting to Examine Futures and Options Trading in the Metals Markets

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced the participants for its public meeting to examine the trading of futures and options in the precious and base metals markets. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday, March 25, 2010, CFTC Hearing Room, 1155 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC.

Reminder: Advanced Registration Requested. The Commission is requesting all individuals interested in attending the metals meeting to register in advance. Please transmit full name and organization represented to metalsmeetingregistration@cftc.gov.

The questions and issues to be addressed during the meeting include the following:

1) How does price discovery occur in the metal markets, considering both the cash and derivative markets as well as domestic and international markets?

2) What is the role of passive, long-only positions such as those associated with index funds or exchange-traded funds in the metals markets and how might their trading activities and potential market impact roles relate to the consideration of position limits?

3) Could and should speculative position limits be applied consistently across all metals derivatives markets and participants, including index traders and managers of Exchange Traded Funds?

4) Would such limits enhance market integrity and efficiency?

5) If the Commission were to establish position limits for metals markets:

· What formulation should be used to determine position limit levels for each market?

· What quantitative measures should be used in setting limits on the size of an individual trader’s position?

· Should limits be established by percentage or proportion of the market or by fixed number of allowed contracts?

· Should limits apply in all months combined, in individual months, and in the delivery month?

· Should spread trades be incorporated into a position limit regime?

· Should the Commission limit the aggregate amount of positions held by one trader across different markets?

· What metal commodities should be covered?

· Would speculative position limits be effective in metals markets where the preponderance of trading activity and positions may involve cash market activity or trading overseas?

6) If the Commission were to establish position limits for metals derivatives markets, what types of exemptions from such limits should be permitted?

· The statute states exemptions should only be granted to bona fide hedgers. What should be the qualifying factors for an entity to be determined to be a bona fide hedger?

· In granting exemptions, should the Commission consider the nature of an intermediary’s counterparties (e.g., should the Commission consider “looking through” a swap dealer’s or index trader’s position to its counterparties)?


Panel One:

Dan Berkovitz, General Counsel, CFTC
Steve Sherrod, Division of Market Oversight, CFTC

Panel Two:

Jeff Burghardt, Luvata

Jeremy Charles, HSBC Bank USA, NA

Tom LaSala, CME Group

Diarmuid O’Hegarty, London Metal Exchange
Mark Epstein, Individual Trader

Panel Three:

Tom Callahan, NYSE Euronext
Dr. Henry G. Jarecki, Gresham Investment Management

Bill Murphy, Gold Antitrust Action Committee
Kevin Norrish, Barclays Capital
John Lothian, John Lothian & Co.

Panel Four:

Richard Strait, Triland USA, a Division of Mitsubishi Corporation
Mike Masters, Masters Capital
Harvey Organ, Individual Investor

Jeffrey Christian, CPM Group

The meeting will be open to the public and will be webcast via the internet. In addition, audio of the meeting will be available via a listen-only conference call.

Viewing/Listening Information:

Watch a live broadcast of the meeting via webcast on www.cftc.gov

Call in to a toll-free telephone line to connect to a live audio feed.

Call-in participants should be prepared to provide their first name, last name and affiliation.

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