For the first time in many years, the commodity-trading industry has caught the eye of policymakers and regulators. They're not pleased.

In a series of recent reports, letters, and confidential memos from major central banks and global financial regulators, a couple of words creep out: "opaque" and "unregulated."

Anyone familiar with commodity trading would be forgiven for thinking this is obvious. It is, but don't dismiss the newfound attention. Coming from some of the world's most powerful institutions, from the U.S. Federal Reserve to the Financial Stability Board (FSB) to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), this heralds a new era for the industry—one of greater oversight, at the very least, if not outright regulation.

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