British Commodity Trading Firm Admits Manipulation Of International Oil Prices

Oil brokerage PVM names rogue trader behind oil spike

Reuters

By David Sheppard David Sheppard Fri Jul 3, 8:40 am ET

LONDON (Reuters) – PVM Oil Futures Limited said on Friday Steve Perkins, a senior broker based at the firm’s London office, was responsible for unauthorized trades earlier this week which landed the firm with a loss of nearly $10 million.

The London-based brokerage said Perkins had taken the positions in Brent crude futures early on Tuesday.

The heavy buying during the Asian trading day when volumes tend to be lower caused global crude prices to spike to their highest level this year. Traders and analysts initially struggled to explain the price move.

Brent was trading at about $66 a barrel on Friday, down from the high of $73.50 struck on Tuesday.

After discovering the trades, PVM said in a statement on Thursday it had closed them out “in an orderly fashion,” resulting in losses approaching $10 million.

It said its brokers were not authorized to take positions in the crude oil markets. Oil brokers generally help to match up trading counter-parties such as banks and hedge funds rather than dealing themselves.

PVM confirmed Perkins was a Brent crude futures broker, but declined to discuss his possible motivation for the unauthorized trades. (political or financial or both)

The brokerage said on Thursday PVM was conducting a full investigation and it had informed the Financial Services Authority (FSA), Britain’s regulatory body, as well as the InterContinental Exchange (ICE) (ICE.N), where the majority of Brent futures trade takes place.

PVM is the world’s largest independent broker, trading more than 100 million barrels of over-the-counter and oil futures a day on average. The company said it had met all margin calls caused by the unauthorized trades and was conducting business as usual.

In May, the FSA banned a former Morgan Stanley (MS.N) trader who built up a hefty unauthorized oil futures position following a long liquid lunch, before hiding the deals overnight.

REGULATION

Excessive speculation in oil and commodities markets has been high on the regulatory agenda since crude prices soared to a record of nearly $150 a barrel last July.

PVM head David Hufton has been an outspoken critic of oil market speculation, describing some exchanges as “electronic oil casinos” that boost the price of oil.

Oil analysts said this week’s events could add further ammunition to those already pushing for tighter regulation on futures exchanges and over-the-counter markets following last year’s price surge and the global financial crisis.

The U.S. government wants to boost oversight of commodity markets and expand the power of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), including looking at tightenening the number of speculative positions any one firm or trader can hold.

Analysts said the FSA was expected to follow any moves to reduce position limits taken by its U.S. counterpart in commodity markets.

(Reporting by David Sheppard; additional reporting by Alex Lawler in London and Yaw Yan Chong in Singapore; editing by William Hardy)

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090703/bs_nm/us_pvm_trade_4   http://www.reuters.com/article/governmentFilingsNews/idUSL336867120090703   http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/natural_resources/article6628545.ece  

So much for all the talk about how increasing oil prices are an indication of the recovering U.S. economy. The price increases have nothing to do with supply and demand. Specualtors, both financial and political are manipulating the price of oil and gasoline. Additional regulation is fine but the real answer lays in “Drill Baby Drill”, develop all of America’s Oil, Gas and Nuclear potential. What happened to last year’s election time “pledge”, when even the Democrats promised to “Drill Baby Drill”. Can’t believe a damn thing they say can we …..  isn’t it ironic that today marks the 1 year anniversary of $145 a barrel crude – http://money.cnn.com/2009/07/02/markets/year_oil/index.htm

In Decemebr 2008 the price of crude dipped to $33.87 a barrell. http://money.cnn.com/2009/07/02/markets/year_oil/index.htm

The Crisis In Honduras – The Timeline March 23, 2009 to July 3, 2009

The following was taken from Real Clear Politics … follow the links to read the full stories.

July 3, 2009

Wrong Again

By Oliver North

WASHINGTON — It took the Obama administration eight days to figure out whether Iranians being gunned down for protesting a fraudulent election and demanding basic civil liberties deserved to be acknowledged by the president of the United States. It took the O-Team less than eight hours to side with Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega over the ouster of Manuel Zelaya in Honduras.

As we now have come to expect, Mr. Obama got it wrong again, but this time, nobody noticed. The U.S. news media, preoccupied with the sudden demise of Michael Jackson, ignored the event in Central America. For those who care about things more important than the passing of a “pop music legend,” here’s the rest of the story:

Manuel Zelaya, a wealthy rancher and agribusiness executive and a self-described “poor farmer,” won a four-year term as Honduran president in November 2005, with 49.8 percent of the vote. Article 374 of the Honduran Constitution bars the nation’s chief executive from serving consecutive terms. Apparently, one term wasn’t enough for Zelaya, a protégé of Venezuela’s strongman, Hugo Chavez, and Nicaragua’s phobic anti-American leader, Daniel Ortega.

Late last year, as the Honduran economy tanked and unemployment grew to nearly 28 percent, Zelaya forced Elvin Santos, the country’s elected vice president, to resign and began holding conversations with Chavez and Ortega on how to hold on to power. In lengthy Chavez-like populist speeches, he denounced the U.S. and wealthy landowners and linked himself with leftists in the Honduran labor movement. On March 23, he issued an executive decree directing a national referendum on a Venezuela-style constituent assembly to rewrite the country’s constitution in time for presidential and legislative elections in November. The Obama-Clinton State Department was mute about all of this.

Unfortunately for Zelaya’s aspirations, the Honduran Constitution requires that amendments be passed by a two-thirds vote of the country’s unicameral Congress during two consecutive sessions. By late May, the Honduran Congress, the Honduran Supreme Court, the commissioner for human rights, and the Honduran electoral tribunal all had overwhelmingly declared the referendum unconstitutional. Zelaya ignored the people’s representatives, had ballots printed in Venezuela, and announced that the vote would take place June 28. Again, the O-Team was silent.

In keeping with the rule of law, Honduran Attorney General Luis Alberto Rubi took the case to court. The Honduran Supreme Court ruled the referendum to be illegal and ordered the ballots to be confiscated. Late on June 23, Zelaya countermanded the court order and directed the army to distribute the ballots. Gen. Romeo Vasquez, the chief of staff of the Honduran military, sought legal opinions and decided not to distribute them. The following day, Zelaya accepted the resignation of the minister of defense, Edmundo Orellana, and fired Vasquez.

The Honduran Supreme Court unanimously ruled the Vasquez firing illegal and reinstated him June 25. That prompted Zelaya and a group of supporters to seize the ballots and issue another executive decree, which directed government officials to set up 15,000 polling stations at schools and community buildings across the country. In response to a request from Attorney General Rubi, the Honduran Congress — controlled by Zelaya’s own Liberal Party — opened an investigation into the president’s mental stability and fitness to govern. Zelaya replied with a two-hour broadcast harangue, in which he claimed: “Congress cannot investigate me, much less remove me or stage a technical coup against me, because I am honest. I’m a free president, and nobody scares me.”

On Sunday, just hours before the referendum was to begin, the Honduran army, acting on a warrant issued by the Honduran Supreme Court, arrested Zelaya and sent him, in his pajamas, into exile in Costa Rica. The Honduran Congress affirmed Zelaya’s departure and, in accord with the constitution, named Roberto Micheletti, who had been president of the Congress, as interim president of the country.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/07/03/wrong_again_97287.html

June 30, 2009

Honduras Fires Its Runaway President

Early on June 28, members of the Honduran military temporarily arrested President Manuel Zelaya. Within minutes he was on a plane bound for Costa Rica. In San Jose, Zelaya denounced the military’s intervention as a “coup d’etat” and a “brutal kidnapping.” The military’s actions, while swift and arbitrary, came after President Zelaya defied virtually every Honduran political and legal institution and propelled his citizens to the verge of polarizing violence. Zelaya’s swift removal from Honduras probably saved many lives.

In less than six hours, Honduras’s congress removed Zelaya as president for repeated violations of Honduras’s laws and constitution, as well as for his failure to observe resolutions of Honduran courts. In short, the congress fired the sitting President for multiple acts of institutional insubordination. The congress then named its speaker, Robert Micheletti, to serve as chief executive until after national elections in November. The military has begun a return back to the barracks.

The events of June 28 mark the culmination in a series of confrontations between Zelaya and virtually all of Honduras’s political and judicial institutions, including the congress, the supreme court, the two major political parties (including his own), and the military. At issue was Zelaya’s effort to convene a non-binding public referendum that, he believed, would open the doors for major constitutional revision. Given that the Honduran constitution does not grant its president the power to convene such referenda, there is no question that, while the response of the Honduran military may have been rash, President Zelaya was fired for a legitimate reason.

Zelaya’s March to the Left

President Zelaya won election by the slenderest of margins in 2005. A series of corruption charges involving state contracts and manipulation of public services–particularly in telecommunications (Hondutel)–hounded the Zelaya government, which began its term with earnest promises of fiscal probity and transparency.

With regard to foreign policy, Zelaya in August 2008 signed on as a member of the Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas (ALBA), a political and economic bloc controlled by senior members Venezuela and Cuba. Zelaya sought and received assistance from Venezuela via the oil-financing facility Petrocaribe and moved for closer ties with Castro’s communist-revolutionary regime.

The Obama Administration wants to reverse the events of June 28. It believes restoring political order and protecting the fundamentals of the Inter-American Democratic Charter via handing the problem off the Organization of American States (OAS) will work easily and promote the smooth, orderly return of President Zelaya. The facts on the ground, however, do not lend themselves to such a tidy and optimistic scenario. There is a grave danger that by acting against the new constitutional arrangement order established by the Honduran congress, supreme court, and military, bloodshed and political chaos are likely to follow. 

Chávez’s Intervention Portends Bloodshed

There is little doubt that President Zelaya was emboldened to challenge the institutions of Honduras by the support of Hugo Chávez and other ALBA members. On June 25, ALBA members issued a public statement claiming that a coup was already underway, and they backed the June referendum, despite lack of institutional support. In short, they endorsed Zelaya’s defiant and reckless strategy.[3]

On June 28, Chávez stepped up his interventions by directing calls to campesino leaders in Honduras to encourage resistance, putting his military on alert, calling on the Honduran soldiers to disobey their superiors, and vowing to topple the new government. “If they swear in Micheletti [or any other], we will overthrow them!” he proclaimed.[4] Chávez also threatened to give a lesson to the military “gorillas” who do not respect Honduras’s constitution.[5]

The relentless intervention of Chávez will serve only to harden the Honduran opposition, demonstrate that Zelaya is heavily compromised and dependent on foreign backing, and support tactics that can easily lead to potentially dangerous provocations. Demonstrations and resistance encouraged by Chávez and others threaten to make a shamble of institutional order in Honduras.

Recommendations

  • Recognize the new Honduran government. Messy as it is, the Obama Administration should recognize the new interim government, as constitutional order has been preserved.
  • Restore public order. The Obama Administration should work with the OAS and other international missions to promote national reconciliation and an end to polarization.
  • Resist Chávez and ALBA intervention. The Chavistas consistently pushed Zelaya toward confrontational politics; now they threaten intervention. The Obama Administration must move to neutralize this negative and highly dangerous thrust.

Chávez Democracy

The events unfolding in Honduras remain confused. Yet it appears the primary institutions of the nation–congress, the supreme court, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, and the military as the guardian of public order–have spoken. While these institutions may have acted precipitously, the bottom line is that President Zelaya was fired for cause. The U.S. can ill afford to open the door to a counter-intervention by Hugo Chávez, one that would deliver Honduras into the Chávez brand of “democracy.”

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/06/30/honduras_fires_its_runaway_president_constitutional_order_is_preserved_97235.html

If You Are 18 To 35 Years Old, Watch Out For Obama’s Stealth Health Care Tax, A Minimum Of $1,000 Per Person

Ok, this post isn’t intended to debate exactly how many “uninsured U.S. citizens” we have in this Country.

What is widely accepted about the uninsured is this, 45% of the unisured in this Country fall in the 18 to 25 yr-old age bracket. Another 7% are in the 25 to 35-yr-old bracket. The key thing to remember here is that the vast majority of the individuals in this age bracket, who are uninsured, are uninsured because they choose not to purchase health care coverage. They have access to health care insurance, however, they choose not to purchase it. Isn’t that their right?                                                                                                                                             

http://www.news-journalonline.com/NewsJournalOnline/Opinion/Editorials/opnOPN13070209.htm

To my way of thinking, the “right” not to be forced into purchasing health coverage is a basic one. It is a matter of individual choice.

NOT ANY LONGER.

Senate Bill Would Fine People More Than $1,000 for Refusing Health Care Coverage

WASHINGTON — Americans who refuse to buy affordable medical coverage could be hit with fines of more than $1,000 under a health care overhaul bill unveiled Thursday by key Senate Democrats looking to fulfill President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority. (Who defines “affordable” – the politicians?) http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/07/02/senate-democrats-trim-cost-health-care/

The Congressional Budget Office estimated the fines will raise around $36 billion over 10 years. Senate aides said the penalties would be modeled on the approach taken by Massachusetts, which now imposes a fine of about $1,000 a year on individuals who refuse to get coverage. Under the federal legislation, families would pay higher penalties than individuals. (and later, when the Government needs more money – the fines will be what?). http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/07/02/senate-democrats-trim-cost-health-care/

In a revamped health care system envisioned by lawmakers, people would be required to carry health insurance just like motorists must get auto coverage now. (Not really, you can always choose not to have a car, to use public transportation, as many people in large cities like L.A., N.Y. and Chicago do – or people can share an auto – not so with Obama Care – if you breathe you pay.)

Called “shared responsibility payments,” the fines would be set at least half the cost of basic medical coverage, according to the legislation. The goal is to nudge people to sign up for coverage when they are healthy, not wait until they get sick. (Read on – the numbers don’t add up already – they don’t care if you sign up for coverage or not – as long as they get your money) http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/07/02/senate-democrats-trim-cost-health-care/

“Obama Care” is also setting up a system that will end employer sponsored health care ….. you doubt that …. read on.

The Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions bill also calls for a government-run insurance option to compete with private plans as well as a $750-per-worker annual fee on larger companies (larger is defined as 25 employees or more – does 25 seem large to you?)  that do not offer coverage to employees …  and

In 2008, employer-provided coverage averaged $12,680 a year for a family plan, and $4,704 for individual coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s annual survey. (Wait just one minute – doesn’t the law say the “fine” will be at least 1/2 of the cost of a private policy, well then, one half of $4,700 is $2,350 – the law hasn’t even passed and the price just went up. The fine for a family would be 1/2 of $12,680 or $6,340 a year – are they kidding?).                                                                        http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/07/02/senate-democrats-trim-cost-health-care/

Let me see if I understand this – an employer can choose between continuing a $12,680 plan or paying $750 to the Government. Kiss your employer sponsored program good-bye – say hello to an IRS like health care program where the government picks your doctor and hospital for you.

Think you might be able to skate on paying the fine … think again … “The fines would be collected through the income tax system.” http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/07/02/senate-democrats-trim-cost-health-care/

As we consider the health-care debate, I think we need to look at the numbers. The population of the United States is right at 300 million. According to various sources, there are somewhere around 45 million without health insurance. That tells us that 255 million of us have health insurance. So 85 percent of us have coverage. In 2006 an ABC News poll found that 89 percent of Americans are satisfied with their coverage. So what about the 45 million without health insurance? The Taxpayer Network says about 12 million of them are illegal aliens. (25% of the unisured). http://www.news-journalonline.com/NewsJournalOnline/Opinion/Editorials/opnOPN13070209.htm

So 85% of us are Insured, 15% of us are not. One half of the uninsured (7.5%) are aged 19-35 and many of those are uninsured by choice. One quarter of the uninsured are illegal aliens (3.75% of the total) –                                                                                                                                     http://www.news-journalonline.com/NewsJournalOnline/Opinion/Editorials/opnOPN13070209.htm

In Los Angeles County, CA, over 50% of the unisured patients are illegal aliens.   http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,150750,00.html

Will these “illegals” have to pay the $1,000 stealth health tax – or as previously reported in the Fox article, above, will they conitnue to receive “free care” that U.S. citizens must pay for?

Back to the numbers, 15% of the Country is uninsured, 7.5% don’t want to spend money on healthcare insurance, 3.75% are here illegally and want “free medical care” paid for by the U.S Taxpayer, that leaves us with 3.75% of the population who do not have medical insurance. One half of that number (1.875%) are children under the age of 19.

Another larger group is children. In Florida we have the Healthy Kids program that will cover any child in the state up to age 19. This is guaranteed issue coverage and for most families the monthly cost is nothing. Every state has the same type of program. It is estimated there are 11 million children without coverage. So every child should be covered. All the parent has to do is apply.”            http://www.news-journalonline.com/NewsJournalOnline/Opinion/Editorials/opnOPN13070209.htm

For a listing of the various State Funded Progarms for children visit this site:  http://www.govbenefits.gov/govbenefits_en.portal_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=gbcc_page_quicksearch&_nfls=false&mode=results&category=HEA

So some number, under 2% of the population, needs assistance in securing medical insurance. Primarily those with pre-existing conditions. Why destroy freedom of choice and the greatest medical delivery system on the face of the earth when the issue is helping 2% of the population. Can’t we reach the desired outcome without destroying a system that 90% of the population is happy with? 

These politicians are really screwy. Consider this, 1/2 the cost of an individual health policy is $2,350. The cost of a package of ciagrettes a day for a year is – $2, 280. Wanna bet what goes up faster, the premium on the Government’s Health Care Program or the cost of a pack of smokes?

Isn’t it time to stop, clearly define our goals and then explore the best way to reach them. The answer isn’t in attempting to provide full medical coverage to anyone who crosses our borders – as kind hearted as that sounds, America cannot afford it. The answer shouldn’t be in a Government Run Program, complete with hidden taxes, no competition and a loss of the freedom to simply say “no” – I don’t want to participate, if that is how an individual feels.  

Remember this – The “PLAN” – if it succeeds – will only provide coverage to 90% of the country – 85% of the country is already insured. A $4 trillion dollar cost to taxpayers to only add 1 out of every 3 of the uninsured and at what cost in terms of quality of care and the freedom to pick your own doctor and hospital.

Ask Your Congressperson and Senator if they plan to give up their “private coverage”, paid for by the Taxpayers, to particiapte in this “Plan”. Of course, you already know the answer to that question. This plan is “good enough” for you and I, but they will never give up their “private coverage”.  How about all of the State and Federal Government Employees, will they join the rest of the Citizens in Obama Care – or will they keep their taxpayer funded benefit packages?  

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