Commodity Markets: Energy and Food

Treasury written question – answered on 26th September 2022.

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Photo of Sarah Olney Sarah Olney Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Treasury)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of changes to commodities trading rules in the Financial Services and Markets Bill on the price of (a) food and (b) energy.

Photo of Andrew Griffith Andrew Griffith The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

The Government believes effective commodities markets regulation is a key part of ensuring economic stability. This is a lesson reinforced by both the food and financial crises in the 2000s. In response to G20 commitments, the EU put in place a regime that sets limits on the amounts of commodity derivatives that market participants can hold, to ensure speculation does not lead to economic harm.

The Government supports the application of position limits to the most volatile commodities (including key energy and agricultural products). However, the regime that we have inherited from the EU is overly complicated, needlessly burdensome and poorly designed. In particular, it unnecessarily captures all exchange traded and economically equivalent over-the-counter commodity derivative contracts including those that have low levels of volatility and risk. This undermines efficient pricing in many such contracts and creates burdens for firms.

To address this, the Financial Services and Markets Bill will ensure exchanges can once again set position limits, within a framework set by the FCA. Exchanges are well placed to ensure that such position limits only apply to contracts that are subject to high volatility. Agricultural products and other key physically settled contracts such as oil and gas will remain subject to position limits. The FCA will also retain powers to intervene to set position limits if need be.

These changes were consulted[1] on and received broad support and are in line with the Government’s G20 commitments.

[1] Wholesale Markets Review Consultation: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/998165/WMR_condoc_FINAL_OFFICIAL_SENSITIVE_.pdf

Wholesale Markets Review Response: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1057897/Wholesale_Markets_Review_Consultation_Response.pdf

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