USDA Still Mulling Whether to Shift Report Release Times

May 15, 2012 06:01 AM
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via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

Lots of suggestions, but no quick response expected

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

As the expected start of grain futures trade expanding to 22 hours per day at the CME Group is approaching, USDA is still mulling whether to adjust the times that it currently releases key reports.

Vilsack comments. In an interview with Bloomberg News, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said the Agriculture Department will look at all issues before making a decision. “We have to be careful before we make any decisions,” Vilsack stated. “It’s not just our markets that are impacted, it’s markets all over the world.”

Shifting the release times of USDA’s key reports became an immediate topic of discussion when the CME Group announced its intention to move to trading to 22 hours per day – from 6 pm to 4 pm CT – as of May 22.

There have been a litany of times suggested and bandied about in the trade, with some suggesting that a 10 am CT release time would be preferable to the current release of many key grain-related reports of 7:39 am CT.

Vilsack told Bloomberg that it’s not just U.S. data but also global data. “Markets don’t just reflect what’s happening in the United States,” Vilsack said. “If we don’t have accurate information from providers all over the world, those markets will not be as accurate as they need to be.”

Contacts at USDA have indicated that they will be looking at a host of information before making any decision on whether to shift report release times – if that does happen at all. But so far, no one release time has emerged as a favored one, according to contacts.

Another issue noted by some is that USDA has already released its schedule of reports for the year ahead and while those report releases can change, it would involve additional work by USDA agencies to make a shift at this point.

Comments: Some observers note that the possible change of USDA report release times is not one that the agency should take lightly and it appears they are going to examine all aspects of any decision before it is made – including a possible call for public comment. And there is still the potential that no decision may be made at this point.

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.






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