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U.S. Regulator Said Set to Appeal Court Ruling on Trading Limits

The main U.S. regulator of derivatives is set to appeal a court ruling that overturned a rule that imposed trading limits on oil, natural gas and other commodities, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

The five-member Commodity Futures Trading Commission is in the process of voting in private on a recommendation from the agency’s general counsel’s office to appeal the ruling. The commission’s three Democrats, Gary Gensler, Bart Chilton and Mark Wetjen support the appeal, according to the person. It is unclear how soon the agency could file the appeal.

U.S. District Judge Robert Wilkins ruled on Sept. 28 that the CFTC failed to assess whether the trading limits, imposed under the Dodd-Frank Act, were necessary and appropriate.

The decision blocked rules scheduled to take effect Oct. 12 that were challenged by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and International Swaps and Derivatives Association Inc. The associations represent JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and other banks and energy trading firms.

CFTC spokesman Steve Adamske declined to comment.

The agency faced pressure from congressional Democrats to support limits on the number of contracts traders can have. The rule, completed in a 3-2 vote on Oct. 18, 2011, would apply to 28 physical commodity futures and their financially equivalent swaps including contracts for corn, soybeans, oats, cotton, heating oil, gasoline, cocoa, milk, sugar, silver, palladium and platinum.

Republican commissioners Jill E. Sommers and Scott O’Malia voted against the rule at the time.

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