oil price manipulation 2013

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Will Oil Prices be the Next Manipulation Scandal?

Now that the Libor manipulation scandal has been revealed, it looks like oil prices could be the focus of the next search for misreporting.

According to the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), the current system of oil price reporting is "susceptible to manipulation or distortion."

Comparisons to Libor manipulation have been made because oil prices, such as Brent, serve as a benchmark for trillions of dollars of securities and contracts.

There is the potential for market participants to manipulate oil price assessments published by price-reporting agencies (PRA) through the submission of false information and selective reporting of deals.

Traders at various banks voluntarily report the prices they pay for oil contracts to Platts and other PRAs. Platts, which provides the most influential assessment, uses a number of trades to decide what the benchmark price, quoted to the outside world, should be.

That is where the trouble begins.

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