The blame game



High oil prices were at the centre of a political storm earlier this year. With the active-month futures contract for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) reaching $147 a barrel in July, politicians had just one question on their mind: why? Attention quickly zeroed in on the role played by speculators. Specifically, institutional investors were accused of distorting markets by massively upping their allocations to commodity indexes. This, argued som