The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has been prodding and poking at commodities exchange traded funds (ETFs) for the last year, and the commission has finally made a decision and released a few proposals.
The CFTC cited United States Natural Gas (NYSEArca: UNG) and United States Oil (NYSEArca: USO) as examples for the new “Proposed Position Limit Rule,” writes Don Dion for TheStreet. The proposal covers four energy commodities: Henry Hub natural gas, light, sweet crude oil prices, New York Harbor No. 2 heating oil and New York Harbor gasoline blendstock. Additionally, the regulation will affect the New York Mercantile Exchange and the Intercontinental Exchange. [Will regulation hurt the ETF industry?]
The proposal offers up a formula that can be used to calculate the number of futures contracts any single fund can hold.
In recent months, the CFTC has been monitoring certain ETFs and their impact on the price of the underlying commodities. UNG and USO offer investors exposure to the prices of natural gas and oil, respectively, by tracking near-month futures contracts. The CFTC has called for tighter rules on energy trading and stricter definitions of traders who are exempt.
United States Commodity Funds, the provider behind the funds, has vigorously defended their funds and refuted claims that they were responsible for wild energy price swings. [CFTC and commodity ETF provider face off.]