By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON, Nov 15 (Reuters) - U.S. futures regulators on
Thursday appealed a judge's decision to knock back tough new
rules to curb speculation in commodity markets, as legal
challenges to an overhaul of Wall Street mounted.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) appealed a
September verdict to reassess its plan to impose caps on the
size of positions a commodities speculator can hold.
"Our appeal should also send a message that the largest
speculators on the planet can't litigate regulators to death,"
CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton said in a statement.
Chilton said he wanted the Commission to work on proposing
the so-called position limits rule in a new guise, a second line
of defense should the appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for
the District of Columba fall flat.
On Sept. 28, U.S. District court Judge Robert Wilkens said
the Dodd-Frank financial oversight law did not give the CFTC a
"clear and unambiguous mandate" to set position limits without
showing they were necessary.
Since then, U.S. exchange operator CME Group has
sued the CFTC over how it reports non-public swap transaction
data. The Securities and Exchange Commission has also seen
several of its rules challenged in court.
Two trade groups had objected to the position limits rule,
saying regulators have failed to show it was necessary, or would
reduce excessive speculation in commodities markets.
The ruling was a victory for banks like Goldman Sachs
and JP Morgan, which had feared the rule would halt growth in
their lucrative business selling commodity derivatives to
An appeal had been widely expected after three people on the
five-member panel signaled support for the idea, even if two of
the five members on the panel voted against it.
One of the dissenters, Republican Scott O'Malia, said he
wanted the CFTC to go back to the drawing board and study
whether new position limits were necessary.
The Commission already had a large reporting program for
futures in place, and was now setting up a similar program for
swaps. Data generated by both these initiatives provided enough
transparency in the market, O'Malia said.
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