Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Lost Weekend

A British oil-futures trader, drinking heavily all night during a weekend binge, made $520 million in wild trades for his firm during an all-night session last June and singlehandedly drove up the world price of oil to an eight-month high. The trader, who was fired, said he doesn't remember slipping into his office after a drink-fueled golf weekend and trading, as it were, in the dark.

For two years now, the airline industry -- especially the Air Transport Association -- has been insisting that speculation in the oil market has sent prices on crazy spins -- and I think this guy is probably a smoking gun.

Here is a compelling lede in the New York Times online today:

"LONDON — Alcohol-induced behavior has produced many unintended consequences, but pushing up the global price of oil and losing $10 million must rank among the most novel."


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