It isn’t until paragraph 14, when cursory readers have already checked out, that we get a mention of who really wins from the continued lack of transparency:
In an initial report in March, the organization said it was concerned prices could be manipulated if traders submit false prices or volumes. Among a list of proposals, the organization said it was considering establishing an industry regulator as well as requiring mandatory reporting of trades….
Some traders have been accused in the past of abusing the pricing system, but the number of cases has dropped significantly in recent years. In 2000, U.S. refiner Tosco Corp. sued Arcadia Petroleum, a London-based oil-trading firm, accusing it of manipulating oil prices. Arcadia later settled the suit for an undisclosed sum.
In 2007, Marathon Oil Corp. agreed to pay $1 million to settle oil-manipulation charges by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Arcadia and Marathon neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing.
Now these four paragraphs are the sum total of the mentions of possible and actual abuses by traders. By contrast, the information vendors are the focus of a full eleven paragraphs of the article. The mention of fewer cases of pricing abuses being filed might be taken to mean there is less bad behavior, when it might also be a function of weaker oversight.
Readers might think I am making overmuch of this story, but it is precisely this sort of objective-sounding but substantively misleading reporting that lulls the public to sleep on important issues. A more vigilant public is less likely to be conned.
Yves Smith writes to blast more ‘reporting’. I also follow Angry Bear Robert’s Stochastic Thoughts whom Mark Thoma has recently been linking, who has a unique style for his thoughts, on ‘ballance’ in reporting.