COMMODITIES: Grounds for Discipline?

Spurred by reports of shortages, the price of coffee shot upward last fall. In three months' trading on the New York Coffee & Sugar Exchange, March futures in "Santos S" coffee rose 69% to a record of 50.1¢ a pound. The retail price of coffee hovered around 80¢. For the rise, the Pan-American Coffee Bureau, which represents Latin American growers, had a crisp explanation: "The sudden rise in coffee prices may be explained in just two words—'bad weather.' "

But last week, Senator Guy M. Gillette's special Senate investigating subcommittee said flatly that this was not truer there had been...