US regulators try again on commodities trading limits

US regulators have made a second attempt to limit speculation by traders in certain commodities, after an earlier version of the federal rule was opposed by a US court in September last year.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) voted Tuesday 3-1 to propose a revised version of so-called position limits, which aims to restrict sharp price spikes by limiting the percentage of the market any one firm can control in certain commodities, including a variety of energy and precious-metals ones.

It also extends restrictions to swaps, more customized contracts that were brought under CFTC regulation by Dodd-Frank. Agricultural and livestock commodities already had position limits before Dodd-Frank was enacted.

The volume of futures contracts that financial investors can trade for 28 commodities would be restricted. The proposed exemptions for financial firms are narrower than in the original rule yet still allow the firms to promote futures trading by their commercial customers to hedge against price swings, CFTC officials said.

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