CFTC Chair Warns Of 'Unknowns' As Ukraine Crisis Continues

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” href=””>Al Barbarino Law360 (March 16, 2022, 3:40 PM EDT) — The head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said Wednesday that the agency is operating on “heightened alert” amid the Ukraine crisis, noting that Russia’s invasion of the country has caused “extreme volatility” across global markets and that unknown challenges lie ahead. 

Speaking at a futures industry event, CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam said markets are “reacting and operating well” given the challenging situation in Ukraine, but that he is calling up all of the agency’s resources to tackle ongoing volatility, ensure commodities markets continue operating smoothly and reduce the collateral effects of sanctions on Russia.

“The ongoing tragedy in Ukraine has resulted in extreme volatility and, at the same time, record trading volume on global markets,” Behnam said in the prepared remarks. “At my direction, CFTC staff are using every tool the agency has to ensure that commodity markets continue to fairly and transparently serve the intended price discovery and risk management function.”

But, he added, “There remain unknowns, especially in the derivatives space, as we hit upcoming delivery marks or if we have any number of supply constraints that could affect different products and asset classes.”

CFTC surveillance staff is “surgically focused” on their analysis of any manipulative, inappropriate or disruptive trading, while commission staff actively monitors compliance by exchanges, self-regulatory organizations

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