October 20, 2022

Senators Warren and Booker Urge Commodity Futures Trading Commission to Investigate Rising Prices in Key Commodities Markets

“With families continuing to struggle with the sharply rising prices of food and other household necessities, it is even more urgent that the Commission achieve these ends”

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) sent a letter to Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chair Rostin Behnam asking him to conduct a series of studies examining whether excessive speculation in key commodities markets – including natural gas, wheat, and oil – has contributed to higher prices of household necessities.

“The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has a responsibility to protect American families by fulfilling its mission ‘to promote the integrity, resilience, and vibrancy of the U.S. derivatives markets through sound regulation’ and ensure that consumers are not paying more for everyday necessities due to excessive speculation,” wrote the lawmakers.

Around the world, commodity markets are facing an unprecedented array of pressures, lifting some prices to all-time highs. Despite the economy’s notable gains in wage growth and employment, the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain bottlenecks, and Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine have led to rising food and gas prices for families. 

The lawmakers are requesting these studies to “strengthen the CFTC’s work to protect American families from artificially high prices and ensure it is using its tools to identify ‘any factor that might contribute to increased food, energy, and metal costs.’”

Senators Warren and Booker are asking Chair Benham to provide information on how the Commission intends to use its data and authorities to protect American families from the whims of overzealous Wall Street traders no later than November 3, 2022.

“(S)uch studies would ‘lead to greater public and market confidence that (derivatives) markets are serving their price discovery and risk management functions and prioritizing the interests of the farmers, ranchers, and producers who provide food, fiber and fuel for the world’  and American families,” concluded the lawmakers.

Senator Warren is a national leader for consumer protection and has always fought to lower costs for American families. In May 2022, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), along with Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) introduced the Price Gouging Prevention Act of 2022, which would prohibit the practice of price gouging during all abnormal market disruptions – including the current pandemic.