Government regulators in the US and Europe have oil market speculators in the crosshairs, and are looking to take them down by imposing sweeping restrictions on how they can trade.
Apparently, governments on both sides of the pond fear that oil speculation can lead to wildly volatile oil prices, which could derail the nascent economic recovery. In the US, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced that it is interested in lessening the influence of speculative traders, such as hedge funds and investment banks, by putting caps on how much money any one trader can put down on a commodity at any one time.
The moves come as the price of a barrel of oil creeps back up from a 2009 low of nearly $34 to a recent high of around $73 a barrel. In 2008, the price of oil shot up to $145 a barrel, placing a major burden on the finances of companies and individual consumers alike.