EU key commodity speculation curbs

EU regulators could follow in the footsteps of their US counterparts after the European Commission published plans to curb speculation in the trading of key commodities follow sharp spikes in food and energy prices in 2008.

Michel Barnier, the EU commissioner responsible for the internal market, unveiled the proposals, including plans for traders to disclose their position and a limit on mega-trades, yesterday, saying: "If someone is doing something which affects the market then he or she must be held to account."

"I don't think there is any reason why we Europeans should be any less rigorous than the Americans," he insisted.

The plans, which need the backing of the European parliament and member states, are part of a reform of the EU's Markets in Financial Instruments Directive. Responding to the Commission's consultation paper, Stephen Fletcher, a financial regulation partner at the City law firm Linklaters, said the EU executive had "blown out of the water any notion that the MiFID review would only lead to minor tweaks".