April 17 (Reuters) - Exchange operator CME Group said U.S. President Barack Obama’s plan to put regulators in charge of margin requirements for oil futures was “misplaced” on Tuesday, and warned the move risked raising prices.
“The Administration’s proposal to use margin requirements to control cash prices is misplaced,” said the operator of the New York Mercantile Exchange, home of the main U.S. crude oil and product futures.
“Taking away from exchanges the ability to manage margins would make the markets less efficient, less tied to fundamentals and would create the potential to push the hedgers out of the market, which would make oil more expensive for all consumers.”
The exchange said it cautioned against conflating speculation in energy markets with manipulation of prices.
President Obama proposed new measures on Tuesday to reduce oil market manipulation, though they are unlikely to get support from a divided Congress.
Obama called on lawmakers to raise civil and criminal penalties on individuals and companies involved in manipulative practices, and said the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) should be given the power to raise margin requirements in oil futures markets.