CFTC will implement new market transparency actions on Sept. 4

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission said it will begin releasing more detailed data in its weekly commitments of traders reports as it implements new market transparency efforts on Sept. 4.

The commission also plans to start releasing quarterly reports of data collected from an ongoing special call on swap dealers and index traders in the futures markets, it indicated.

CFTC Chairman Gary G. Gensler noted on Sept. 2 that the commission recommended disaggregating the COT reports in September, and that he announced on July 7 that the CFTC would periodically release data on index investors’ participation in futures markets.

“I am pleased that we will be able to take these steps toward increased transparency as of Sept. 4. For the first time, we will break out managed money and swaps in our COT reports and release index information to give the public a better view of trading activity in the futures markets,” Gensler said as the CFTC began two days of hearings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on harmonizing financial regulatory efforts.

The CFTC said that it has provided the futures industry with COT reports consisting of aggregated large-trader position data for decades. The reports have been based on a congressional request for an annual report when it passed enabling commodities regulation legislation in the 1920s. They have been intensified into weekly formats over time in several formats and, beginning in January 2007, a weekly commodity index supplement for 12 agricultural markets.

More markets, categories

Beginning Sept. 4, the commission said, it will publish data for 22 contract markets, including major agriculture, energy, and metals. The COT reports currently break traders into two broad categories, commercial and non-commercial. The new reports will break trading data into four categories: producer-merchant-processor-user, swap dealers, managed money, and other reportables.

The CFTC said that it intends to produce the same disaggregated data on all remaining physical markets for which it publishes data. It also plans to release traditional COT reports during a transition period through the end of 2009 to let the public become familiar with the new reports’ format and to comment on any possible enhancements. The CFTC said it would accept such comments through Oct. 20.

It said that it also is working to create a new COT report for all of the financial markets it regulates to make them more transparent, and that the categories in this new financial COT may be different from those it will be using in the physical markets. The commission said it also is concurrently working on improving its Form 40 and other methodologies to make trader classifications more accurate.

The enhanced index investment data which the CFTC will be released on a quarterly basis initially, with a goal of releasing it monthly, it said. It will include both gross long and gross short positions, and will update information in the previously released report, the CFTC said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

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