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CFTC Again Extends Comment Period for Rulemaking Proposals

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has for a second time extended the comment period for two rulemakings aimed at limiting speculative trading in the swaps markets. The agency proposed the rules late last year.

CFTC on Friday said it had submitted for publication in the Federal Register a 30-day extension of the comment period for a proposed rulemaking to establish speculative position limits for 28 exempt and agricultural commodity futures and options contracts, including four energy contracts; and for a second proposed rulemaking to amend existing regulations setting out the Commission's policy for aggregation under its position limits rule.

The position limits proposal was originally published in the Federal Register on Dec. 12 and the aggregation proposal on Nov. 15 (see Daily GPI, Nov. 5, 2013). The comment periods for both ended in February (see Daily GPI, Feb. 11). On May 29, in an effort to provide interested parties an opportunity to comment on the issues prior to a June 19 roundtable, CFTC said the comment periods would reopen between June 12 and July 3 (see Daily GPI, May 27).

"To provide commenters with sufficient time to respond to questions raised and points made at the roundtable, the Commission is now further extending the comment period for 30 days from the date of publication of the extension in the Federal Register," CFTC said Friday.

The positions limit proposal would implement section 737 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, clamping down on speculation in 28 selected physical commodity futures and swaps. Among the 28 are four energy contracts: Nymex Henry Hub Natural Gas, Nymex Light Sweet Crude Oil, Nymex New York Harbor Gasoline Blendstock and New York Harbor Heating Oil. Among other things, the proposed rule calls for limits on speculative positions in commodity contracts and their "economically equivalent" futures, options and swaps, and it would establish speculative limits on referenced contracts effective 60 days after publication of a final rule.

Commissioners have sought to update position limits regulations to prevent a repeat of episodes of market manipulation that occurred in the silver market in 1979-1980 and the natural gas market in 2006 (see Daily GPI, Dec. 22, 2011).

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