Simon English: Don't waste energy on trader 'price-rigging'
Thursday 15 November 2012
Outlook Another day, another price-fixing scandal, this time in the energy markets. But it's far from clear, at least from what we know so far, that this one matters very much. The price-rigging alleged by the whistleblower Seth Freedman actually involved sending prices down rather than up.
And in any case, the link between your gas bill and one day's trading of energy contracts is tenuous at best.
Let's have a full investigation, by all means. In the meantime, the following synopsis of the situation may be enough:
Is the market for energy being rigged? Very probably.
Is it leading to households paying more for their energy than they would be otherwise? Very probably not.
It's a fiendishly complex business, but people ought to draw the distinction between the market being rigged for the benefit of some spivvy derivatives traders and for the benefit of the energy retailers.
This is trader-on-trader violence. As such, we could just sit back and enjoy it.
No real people were harmed in the making of this story.
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