For months FairFuelUK has been a lone voice pleading for something to be done about oil price manipulation. UK regulators turned their backs on our calls for transparency (I personally wrote to them all) and at times we felt very isolated indeed. Now nobody should be in any doubt that our concerns were absolutely valid because the US Federal Reserve is calling for a ban on banks holding oil stocks. Investigators have proved that aggressive speculation in commodities by major finance houses has pushed up the prices of food, metal and fuel. This week a US trader was fined over $1 million and banned from trading for a year for using a high-frequency trading system to manipulate three oil futures markets. Thousands of fake buy or sell orders for Brent Crude, Gas Oil and Western Texas Intermediate futures were placed to deliberately distort the market price and then bets were placed against the bogus trades to make profits which amounted to $1.3 million. This was a relatively small scam operated by a lone operator and is just the tip of an enormous iceberg. In 2003 the amount of money going into the oil futures market was $13 billion. By 2008 that cash flow had mushroomed to $260 billion. This gives you an idea of just how much money is involved in the oil futures market and how vulnerable it could be to price fixing. One oil broker I spoke to said that price manipulation is completely routine, has been going on for years and that there's a big price fuel oil manipulation scam now brewing on the Singapore market.
The Americans should be congratulated for beginning a process of investigation that has the global oil market deeply worried. But what's to stop those same traders, speculators and brokers just transferring their activities to the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London? Especially since our government seems reluctant to take on the powerful city oil trading desks and lacks the political will to do what the Americans have done. The evidence is mounting now and Robert Halfon MP and I will continue our calls for a Parliamentary inquiry to properly regulate this industry once and for all.'