Obama Calls for Tougher Penalties for Oil Market Manipulators
President Obama called Tuesday for stepped-up oversight of oil markets, plus tougher penalties on trading firms caught trying to manipulate energy prices.
He asked Congress to provide more funds for regulators to monitor commodities trading and pursue rogue activities by investors. He also called for a tenfold increase in penalties when violations are found, and for those penalties to be levied for each day that manipulation persists, rather than for each general instance of manipulation.
The president also said Congress should grant new authority to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to raise margin requirements on traders, in a bid to reduce market volatility and to ensure that investors can make good on their trades.
His appeal comes with US gasoline prices edging toward $4 a gallon, and with many voters citing high gas prices as a top pocketbook concern ahead of November’s presidential election. Currently the price of regular gas is $3.90 per gallon, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report.