Thursday 28th May 2015
NEWS TICKER: THURSDAY, MAY 28TH: A deal struck by MEPs and Council of Ministers negotiators in the small hours of Thursday morning means the architecture of the Juncker plan to unlock €315bn public and private investments in the real economy in 2015-2017 can now be put to a European Parliament vote on June 24th and the investment programme can kick off in the summer. Parliament’s negotiators scaled back cuts in the EU’s “Horizon2020” research and innovation programme and Connecting Europe Facility (CEF – to link up Europe’s energy, transport and digital networks). They also ensured that the plan creates a stable financing mechanism to bridge the investment gap in Europe, by clarifying the investment guarantee fund’s governance structure and making it more accountable to representatives of EU citizens – Jamyra Gallmon, accused of stabbing DLA Piper associate David Messerschmitt to death in a robbery gone wrong, pleaded guilty to murder today in Washington, DC court, after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors - – European banking and financial market associations have been rushing to comment on Tuesday night’s vote in the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON), which was rejected by 30 votes to 29, claiming they remain deeply concerned over the EU Banking Structural Reform proposal (BSR) that seeks to break up the largest European banks. The outcome of the ECON vote shows that there is no consensus on what is right for big universal banks in Europe. Policy makers suggest that the BSR proposal could lead to a loss in European investment capacity equal to 5%, representing a decline of almost €100bn in capital expenditure on the long term; however there does not seem to be any consolidated document that might form the basis of consistent debate as a European Parliament spokesperson confirms that the original proposal has had so many amendments that it scarcely reflects the original thinking behind the document. Given that the vote is defeated, the EP will not consider re-opening the debate until June 11th this year, when the Parliament will decide on the requirements for either further amendments or complete redrafting, or even abandonment of the proposal - )-- Murex, the leading provider of integrated trading, risk management and processing solutions, says UniCredit, which has the largest presence of banks in Central and Eastern Europe, has gone live on Murex' MX.3 for UniCredit Bank Austria and eight other Central Eastern Europe banks - The interim financial report of Gefinor S.A. (ISIN LU 0010016714) for the period ended March 31st is available on the company website at www.gefinor.com from May 28th (today) - The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that the next meeting of its Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies will focus on public company disclosure effectiveness, intrastate crowdfunding, venture exchanges, and treatment of finders.“The agenda reflects the important scope of the advisory committee’s mandate,” says SEC Chair Mary Jo White. “Topics I am particularly interested in are the advisory committee’s views on disclosure effectiveness and initiatives that will inform our capital formation efforts.” At its upcoming meeting on June 3rd, the advisory committee also is expected to vote on a recommendation to the Commission regarding the “Section 4(a)(1½) exemption” sometimes used by shareholders to resell privately issued securities. This topic was initially discussed at the committee’s March 4 meeting.The meeting will be held at the SEC’s headquarters at 100 F Street, NE, Washington, DC, and is open to the public. It also will be webcast live on the SEC’s website, www.sec.gov, and will be archived on the website for later viewing.

Bunking the myth of oil price hikes and speculation

Monday, 05 March 2012
Bunking the myth of oil price hikes and speculation The question of whether speculators are responsible for the recent spikes in the price of oil has been one of the most hotly debated topics in the oil market in the last few years. Most recently it has prompted US regulators to put limits on some speculative positions and re-define what they consider to be speculative positions. Vanja Dragomanovich met up with Rita D'Eclessia, professor at the Department of Economic Theory and Quantitative Methods for Political Choices at the University of Rome and a visiting lecturer at Birkbeck University in London, who has run these theories through a set of mathematical tests and has produced some slightly surprising results. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

The question of whether speculators are responsible for the recent spikes in the price of oil has been one of the most hotly debated topics in the oil market in the last few years. Most recently it has prompted US regulators to put limits on some speculative positions and re-define what they consider to be speculative positions. Vanja Dragomanovich met up with Rita D'Eclessia, professor at the Department of Economic Theory and Quantitative Methods for Political Choices at the University of Rome and a visiting lecturer at Birkbeck University in London, who has run these theories through a set of mathematical tests and has produced some slightly surprising results.

Vanja Dragomanovich (VD): Why has the issue of oil prices attracted so much attention outside the actual oil market?
Rita D'Eclessia (RD’A): Analysis and empirical evidence shows that four out of the last five global recessions were preceded by oil shocks. In the case of the 2007-2008 crisis oil prices cannot be ignored as a culprit of what happened: the oil price increased over 300% and this caused the annual fuel bill of OECD countries to increase dramatically. Exceptional oil price volatility affects many economic variables and their related markets. Oil price fluctuations affect consumers, producers and marketers, especially in terms of costs, incentives to invest in technology and trading strategies. The importance of oil prices is further increased by the fact that other forms of energy such as coal, gas, and, to a lesser extent, electricity are sometimes priced in order to compete with oil, so that oil price fluctuations become reflected in broader energy price changes.

VD: As part of your research you looked into the link between the volatility in oil prices and the involvement of speculators in the market. Can you talk us through your findings?
RD’A: Economists and financial experts are divided over who they think was responsible for driving crude oil prices to their peaks in the first half of 2008. Basically trend-following speculation and institutional commodity index-buying have reinforced the output pressure on prices. In my research I tried to identify which economic and financial variables provide insights into understanding oil price dynamics. Our proposition was that the changes in the oil price are an example of an economic variable which is largely unpredictable. In such a context the role of futures markets, considered as a measure of the speculative component in the market, is also investigated. However, our conclusion was that using the data we had, we could not find any evidence that the oil price depends on speculative activity in the market.



VD: What data did you base your research on? For instance, how did you define speculators and how did you distinguish between speculative and non-speculative activity? Was your research based on information from several commodity exchanges?
RD’A: I set up an econometric model to capture possible long run equilibrium between some macroeconomic variables and some financial variables. The data used to measure speculation is the number of the benchmark US futures oil contracts, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) spot crude oil held by speculators; this is data published by the US Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
I used monthly West Texas Intermediate spot oil prices between 1993 and 2011 and assumed that speculators are participants who trade oil as an investment and not to hedge.

VD: Once you established that the link between speculative activity and oil price volatility was weak which other factors proved most influential in the oil market?
RD’A: Surprisingly, by far the strongest influence is the price of gold, followed by the strength of the euro against the dollar. For instance we found that for any one basis point move in the euro/dollar exchange rate the oil price moved by $2.8 dollars. Given that the euro was only introduced in 2000 we ran the analysis using the Deutschmark from 1993 till the introduction of the euro.
In all, we tried six different variables to try and find some meaningful correlation. We tried open interest, US interest rates, imports of WTI and WTI oil futures, all of which proved not to have a strong impact on the oil market.

VD: Your analysis was primarily statistical. However, in that period of time oil would have also moved for other reasons such as geopolitical crises, conflicts in the Middle East, economic crises, and political changes in Europe. How do those factors feature in your analysis?
RD’A: That is correct, but we can infer the influence of political events through the fluctuations of the dollar exchange rate and the price of gold. In any case the debate continues; oil price changes certainly cannot be explained solely by looking at the supply and demand dynamics.

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