CFTC Limits on Commodity Speculation May Wait Until Early 2012

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission may not complete limits on commodity speculation until the first quarter of next year, according to a filing on the agency’s website.

The top U.S. commodity regulator said it will set limits “only after collecting positional data on physical commodity swaps,” the CFTC said in the filing.

The commission voted Jan. 13 to put out for comment a proposal that would restrict the number of contracts one firm can hold. The public has 60 days to critique the caps, and there is no deadline for the agency to take a final vote on the rules.

The Dodd-Frank Act gave the CFTC until January to curb speculation in the energy and metals markets and until April for agricultural commodities. Last month, CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler told lawmakers the commission wouldn’t meet the deadline because it doesn’t yet have sufficient data. The agency will begin collecting that information in the third quarter of 2011, according to the filing.

The financial overhaul, named for its primary authors, Democratic former Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts, aims to stem systemic risk by requiring most commodity, interest-rate and other swaps be processed by clearinghouses after being traded on exchanges or swap-execution facilities.

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