CFTC releases details of surveillance plan into crude oil market manipulation

Is it a coincidence that crude oil is selling off sharply just as the CFTC announces stepped up supervision of that market?

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission released a three-point plan for expanded surveillance of energy commodity trading Thursday morning. Briefly, here are the points:

I. Expanded information-sharing with the United Kingdom Financial Services Authority (FSA) and ICE Futures Europe for surveillance of energy commodity contracts with U.S. delivery points, including crude oil large trader position data on all WTI contract months, and a commitment to enhance trader information to permit more detailed identification of market end users.

II. Increased transparency of trading in U.S. energy markets, in particular for index trading activity, including monthly reporting of index trading. CFTC said it will develop a proposal to require more detailed information from index traders and swaps dealers, and will review whether classification of these types of traders can be improved for regulatory and reporting purposes, and will review trading practices of index traders to "ensure that this type of trading activity is not adversely impacting the price discovery process"

III. CFTC said it began conducting an investigation in crude oil last December, surrounding the purchase, transportation, storage and trading of crude oil and related derivative contracts. Specifics remain confidential.