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Fixing the fix

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The European Union wants to change how commodity benchmarks are set

BRUSSELS: Feb 8th 2014

Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 01.06.41“THE oil price” has a comforting ring of clarity about it. But in reality many benchmark prices for oil and other commodities are merely estimates based on incomplete information from unregulated, illiquid markets. …the European Commission last year raided BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil (all oil firms) and Platts (the biggest PRA) in an investigation of possible market-rigging. An American regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is investigating price-fixing by trading houses and oil companies. Many see similarities to scandals involving financial benchmarks such as LIBOR, which purported to track the price of loans between banks in London, but turns out to have been manipulated with gusto.

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