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Part of Opposition Day — [15th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 4:43 pm on 24th June 2008.

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Photo of Vincent Cable Vincent Cable Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Treasury) 4:43 pm, 24th June 2008

There is a complicated argument, and we could spend the day on it. I am trying to understand other people's arguments. When people complain about speculative pressures, I think that they are saying two different things. One is that futures markets do not function properly, although I do not think that there is any evidence for that—those markets may be volatile in the short run, but they do not cause enormous shifts over periods of years.

The other thing that such people are saying is that a lot of people who are nervous about investing their savings are putting them into commodity-based securities. That is the argument that the Conservative leader advanced yesterday. However, the actual magnitudes of money involved in those commodity securities is trivially small in relation to the turnover of oil markets. It is difficult to explain what has happened in any way other than through the fact that world oil demand has been rising unsustainably and that supply is fixed in the short run. That is the problem.

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