Oil price 'fix' must be investigated by regulators Automotive …
Allegations of oil price manipulation come amid a furore over the rigging of Libor, the interest rate measure, by traders at Barclays.
Claims that oil prices were fixed came in a report from the G20, the group of finance ministers and central bank governors from 20 major countries, which warned that the market was wide open to manipulation or distortion .
It argues that those involved in oil trading had an incentive to distort the market and were likely to try to report false prices.
A spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron was reported in The Daily Telegraph (July 17) as saying: The important thing is that we have efficient and fair markets. And if there is evidence that any market is being manipulated then that is a matter for the regulators, and those regulators should look at it very carefully.
Brian Madderson, chairman of theRMIPetrol Retailers Association (PRA), which represents independent forecourts across theUK, said: PRA has been concerned for some time about the lack of transparency in wholesale road fuel pricing which could be affected by any abuse of the systems used by price reporting companies.
RMIPetrol submitted a detailed report to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) earlier this year, alleging anti-competitive pricing across theUKbased on evidence gathered from their members.
We highlighted potential flaws in price referencing systems as one of the fuel price mechanisms needing proper investigation. Businesses, motorists and independent retailers all need much greater price transparency and we on called the Government to support the request for the OFT study.
Disappointingly, our request for a new market study has been provisionally turned down by the OFT. We strongly believe that such a market study is urgently needed to review and resolve many issues that impact retail road fuel prices.
Geoff Dunning, chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, said: The price of oil dictates the price we pay for all fuel types. To learn that there is a possibility of oil traders worldwide manipulating the price comes as little surprise, given the recent news that our own financial system was rigged for the benefit of the banks.
We find it quite baffling that the oil market, as one of the world s key commodity sectors, is unregulated and appears to rely, to a great extent, on the honesty of the trader to return accurate data regarding their activities.
The G20 revelation which has found the oil market to be wide open to manipulation or distortion must be acted upon as a matter of urgency. How many more financial stones must be overturned before we can see a fair financial system in which we can place our confidence?
This country is trying to battle its way out of recession. If we cannot trust those who set the price for the life-blood of our industry, what hope is there for the rest of the economy?
Quentin Willson, a motoring expert at campaign group FairFuelUK said any deliberate fiddling of the figures by financial institutions and traders will have costUKconsumers millions in unnecessary expenditure .
These dark and devious forces should be held to account and an investigation into oil price manipulation started immediately, he said.