Fed probes catastrophic risks in bank physical commodity trading

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill

During the past year, US banks have been embroiled in a public relations nightmare over physical commodity trading. Costly settlements for alleged power market manipulation, accusations of nefarious dealings at aluminium warehouses, and hostile hearings on Capitol Hill have created an environment in which the presence of Wall Street banks in physical markets looks increasingly precarious.

On January 14, the US Federal Reserve Board added its voice to the clamour. In a 19-page document, the Fed

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