Members of Congress Meet on Oil Speculation

Lawmakers in Washington are sharpening their focus on the oil markets. They're having a hearing Monday to discuss how much of the run-up in oil prices is due to financial speculation.

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ARI SHAPIRO, host:

NPR's business news starts with speculation in the oil markets.

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Lawmakers in Washington are sharpening their focus on the oil markets today. They're holding a hearing to discuss how much of the run-up in oil prices is due to financial speculation. Over the past year, investors have poured money into oil markets. Not because they need the oil but because they're trying to make a profit. It's unclear how much of the rise in prices is due to speculation. A Congressional investigation reported in the Wall Street Journal today, shows that speculators now account for 70 percent of trading in one key oil product on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That's almost double what it was at the beginning of the decade.

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