Senate looks at commodity speculation

U.S. Capitol Building


Scott Jagow: Some people place part of the blame for higher prices on speculation in the commodity markets. A Senate panel will look into that today. Jeremy Hobson reports from Washington.

Jeremy Hobson: In the last five years, the amount of money invested into commodities has grown 20-fold. That's largely the result of speculators gambling on commodity futures. Now, Congress wants to know what effect that's having on consumers and if lawmakers need to take action.

Chad Hart: Just looking at what Congress has available to them right now, there's not a lot they can do.

Chad Hart is an agricultural economist at Iowa State University. He says lawmakers may need to give the Commodity Futures Trading Commission more authority -- to regulate a fast-changing marketplace. He says farmers are making decisions about what to plant based on Wall Street speculation.

Tom Buis, who heads the national farmers union, says the sooner the better. and not on actual demand.

Tom Buis: That money is coming in there to make money. It's not coming in to take delivery or corn or wheat or soybeans or any other commodity that's traded.

Observers say mounting pressure to bring down prices is starting to get to the CFTC and to Congress.

In Washington, I'm Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.


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