oil traders

Oil traders razor-focused on signs of escalating violence in the Middle East were jolted on Thursday by a Twitter posting from the Israeli military that, at first glance, suggested they had just bombed Syrian airports. Oil prices jumped $1 as the talk raced through oil markets, which frequently react quickly to rumors of geopolitical events and where traders have increasingly turned to the Internet and social media for advance warning of escalating risks, from the Arab Spring to the Iranian nuclear standoff. The Tweet was true, but it wasn’t news. The posting referred to an attack 40 years ago in the Yom Kippur war, the latest in a series of Tweets from the Israel Defense Forces Twitter handle (@IDFSpokesperson) commemorating the war. The Tweet just before 10:30 a.m. EDT stated: “October 10 #YomKippur73: Israel Air Force bombards airports in Syria to prevent Soviet weapons reaching the Syrian Army”. It then links to a website that gives a day-by-day account of the war. “Obviously this was part of our Yom Kippur Twitter series. The facts are there and simple to read. It was apparent within the Tweet itself,” said IDF spokesman Peter Lerner. [Reuters]

The following excerpt is from The Asylum: The Renegades Who Hijacked The World’s Oil Market, a new book by reporter Leah McGrath Goodman.

The board’s first trip to Dubai did not go smoothy. After meetings with city officials and the DDIA executives, the Nymex directors were looking forward to a night out on the town. They were told that alcohol was hard to come by in a Muslim city, but they’d also been informed Dubai had an impressive selection of exotic prostitutes. “You know what the pecking order is for prostitutes in Dubai? Arab women are the most expensive, followed by the European and American women, then Asians, then Latinas, then, well pretty much everyone else,” says the Nymex straffer who was asked by the board to look into the rates of sex workers for the night (the exchange’s budget, after all, did have a line item for “board entertainment”).

About eighteen of the twenty board members on the trip, according the staffer, wanted to go to the local brothels. “We were staying at the Emirates Towers. When I got back to the hotel that night, a board member was coming in who had two girls with him. At the hotel, you can sign in one hooker, but you have to pay a fee of $100. You can’t sign in two hookers because apparently that would be un-Islamic. The board member wanted me to sign the second girl under my name, because I didn’t have anyone with me. I didn’t want a prostitute under my name, so I wrote another board member’s name instead, and also his rom number. Then I went to bed. Hours later, I get a panicked call from the front desk. They’re telling me to come down, there’s been a big problem.” Read more »

That was a joke people took out of context. But he was serious about bribing the guy. Read more »

  • 29 Jun 2010 at 12:37 PM

FSA Sets Dangerous Precedent In Drunk Trader Case

I’m not promoting alcoholism, but like so many things in life, there are some activities many of you are better at while under the influence. Sadly, in London, one guy had to ruin it for the whole group. Steve Perkins, the oil trader who bought 7.13 million barrels of crude oil on behalf of his firm after “a drunken golf weekend” has been fined £72,000 and banned from the industry for a minimum of 5 years.

The 34-year-old, who lives in Brentwood, was a senior trader for PVM in the West End when he went on his spree last June. Working from a laptop at home after a weekend playing golf, he was able to move the oil market by engaging in huge amounts of speculative buying at ever-higher prices. In a statement, the FSA said: “Mr Perkins’ explanation for his trading on 29 and 30 June is that he was drunk. He says that he drank heavily throughout the weekend and continued drinking from around mid-day on Monday 29 June. He claims to have limited recollection of events.”

Read more »