U.S. Senate hearing to urge quicker commodity limits on banks

Men walk past the London Metal Exchange (LME) in London, July 22, 2011By Anna Louie Sussman WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers will push financial regulators at a Senate hearing on Wednesday to speed up efforts to limit Wall Street’s role in physical commodities markets, pressing for a pivotal policy shift after a decade of deepening trade. A day ahead of the hearing, the Federal Reserve laid out for the first time its growing concerns the risks to the financial system from banks leasing oil tankers or owning power plants are “difficult to limit and higher than expected”. In a preliminary notice seeking public comment on possible new limits, the Fed cited real-world risks including the BP Gulf oil spill and last year’s Quebec oil train disaster, as examples of the multi-billion dollar catastrophes banks face by being involved in the risky, messy world of commodities. The notice also suggested possible remedies, including limits on assets as well as restrictions on trade of some types of commodities, and posed questions to draw public input.

Share this article