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Criminal Portions of the Commodity Exchange Act

By Spodek Law Group | January 22, 2023
(Last Updated On: July 28, 2023)

Last Updated on: 28th July 2023, 07:19 pm

To start with, you need to understand what the Commodity Exchange Act is and what it provides.
It is found in chapter 545, 49 Statute. 1491, and was enacted back in 1936 June the 15th. This federal act was passed in 1936 by the Government of the United States, replacing the 1922’s Act on Grain Futures Act.
This act provides that federal regulations of every commodity and future trading activities should require futures and commodity options and must be traded on organized exchanges. The cftc, Commodity Futures Trading Commission in 1974 was created due to the Commodity Exchange Act. Further in 1982, the NFA also referred to as the cftc launched the National Futures Association.
List of Commodities
Today, there are so many commodities being traded. However, they have been categorized into three major groups. These categories include Agriculture, metals, and energy.
Agricultural commodities comprise of
• Any agricultural products that can be drunk example cocoa, sugar, coffee, and orange juice. They are referred to as softs market.
• There is also the grains category which comprises wheat, soybean oil, soybeans, oat, rice, and corn
• Another one is the animals that became food. These include live cattle and lean hogs or pork
• The last on this category would be an agricultural product that you wouldn’t eat. Lumber and cotton would make the best example.
The next category would feature energy. In this category, RBOB gasoline, crude oil, natural gas, and heating oil are the primary examples. Commodities that trade in big determinant in setting the oil prices are also included here.
The last category includes the mined commodities like copper, silver and also platinum. Earlier on, the London metal exchange reported that they would come up with features contracts for the metals that are used in batteries in 2019. This exchange is convinced that there will be a tremendous market for the metals as their demand keeps growing by the day since electric vehicle are on rampant production in the current century.
Commodities Is A Business Term
If you pursued business as a discipline in university, then you know that it can be defined as goods and services that one buys and sells purely on price. Commodities can include the traded commodities, and they could also comprise the products that are not very much differentiated from others based on benefits, brand or other distinguishing features.
A good example would be Coca-Cola, which is a brand product which receives massive loyalties and is priced higher since it is perceived of being different from the rest of cola drinks. Therefore, what might seem to be a low-cost store brand is a commodity since it is not much different from other brands of stores. It is also bought primarily since it comes in a low cost and not its taste.
How Does Commodities Market Work?
The commodities trading determines the prices of all commodities. This, therefore, makes the prices of everyday products to be volatile. This is why you see the prices of gasoline changing every other day. Dealers of items trade their merchandise in the open market thus the change in price every other day. In most cases, the ordinary consumer finds themselves in crossroads due to the price variation in the everyday products like meat, gasoline, and grains. The price fluctuation has a toll on more impoverished people across the world that have no option but pay more for their limited income on transportation and feeding. It also has a toll on farmers, as it makes it riskier to farm. This is the main reason why not only the US government but also governments across the world provide subsidies on farm inputs.
In the exchanges, the highest volume of trading is in oil, agricultural products, and metals such as gold. Of cause, no one wants to transport such heavy materials; they are traded in future contracts instead. Commodities contracts are always priced in US dollars. This, therefore, means that when there is a rise in the value of the dollar, one would need fewer dollars to buy the exact amount of the commodities, and thus the price of the product goes down.
Financials which are currencies also are traded in future contracts. A good example would be the 3- month Eurodollar and the Euro-Fix. They may as well include interest rates like the 10-year Treasury note. Stock indices are also traded in future contracts; the best example is the S&P 500. However, the Commodity Exchange Act does not clearly define these as commodities.
Violation of The Act

  1. If you Intentionally manipulate price during a call auction
  2. If you intentionally manipulate price during the Continuous Trading, also known as Zabara
  3. When you manipulate price during the Settlement Price Calculation Period when you trade individually in collaboration with others with the intention to manipulate the settlement price
  4. When you fake orders or spook
  5. Front running
  6. Transferring profits

When you perform the above and much, you will be violating the trade practice act as stipulated by The cftc. You, therefore, need to search for a competent Commodity attorney to represent you in a federal court of law.

Understanding the Commodity Exchange Act and its Impact on Trading

The Commodity Exchange Act (CEA), a federal law enacted on June 15, 1936, replaced the previous Grain Futures Act of 1922. This groundbreaking legislation mandated that all commodity and futures trading activities must be conducted on organized exchanges to ensure transparency and fairness. As a result, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) was established in 1974, followed by the National Futures Association (NFA) in 1982.

Commodity Categories and Examples

There is a vast array of commodities traded across various markets today. These can be broadly classified into three main groups: Agriculture, Metals, and Energy.

Agricultural Commodities

These include, but are not limited to:
– Softs market: Cocoa, sugar, coffee, and orange juice
– Grains: Wheat, soybean oil, soybeans, oats, rice, and corn
– Livestock: Live cattle and lean hogs
– Non-edible agricultural products: Lumber and cotton

Energy Commodities

Prominent examples in this category are RBOB gasoline, crude oil, natural gas, and heating oil. Additionally, commodities that play a significant role in determining oil prices also belong to this group.

Mined Commodities

These consist chiefly of metals such as copper, silver, and platinum. With the rapid growth of electric vehicles production, there has been a surge in demand for metals used in batteries, prompting the London Metal Exchange to introduce futures contracts for these commodities in 2019.

Commodities as a Business Term

In the context of business, commodities refer to goods and services that are bought and sold primarily based on price. These items may include traded commodities as well as products that do not possess any distinguishing features, benefits, or branding that differentiates them from similar goods.

A classic example is Coca-Cola, which enjoys strong brand loyalty and is priced higher due to its perceived uniqueness compared to other cola drinks. In contrast, a low-cost store brand typically falls under the commodity category as it bears little differentiation from other store brands and is primarily purchased based on its lower cost, rather than taste.

How the Commodities Market Works and Affects Everyday Prices

The volatile nature of the commodities market directly influences the prices of everyday consumer goods, such as gasoline, meat, and grains. The constant fluctuations in these prices can have profound effects on the lives of regular consumers, particularly lower-income individuals, who may struggle to meet the increased costs of transportation and food.

Such price volatility also poses challenges to farmers, making agriculture a high-risk venture. This has led governments worldwide to provide subsidies on farm inputs.

In the commodities exchanges, oil, agricultural products, and metals like gold typically see the highest trading volumes. Due to the challenges of physically transporting these items, they are commonly traded through futures contracts. It is also worth noting that commodities contracts are priced in US dollars, meaning that fluctuations in the value of this currency can impact the prices of the underlying products.

Financials, such as currencies and interest rates, as well as stock indices, can also be traded in futures contracts. However, the CEA does not categorically define these as commodities.

Violations of the Commodity Exchange Act

Several actions are considered trade practice violations under the CEA, including:
– Deliberately manipulating prices during a call auction
– Intentionally manipulating prices during continuous trading (Zabara)
– Manipulating prices during the settlement price calculation period, either individually or in collusion with others, with the intention of manipulating the settlement price
– Placing fake orders or engaging in spoofing
– Front-running
– Transferring profits

If found guilty of any of these violations, one may need to seek the aid of a skilled commodity attorney to represent their case in federal court.

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