The National Grain and Feed Association on Sept. 20 commended the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for announcing it will change the release times of several major statistical reports issued by its National Agricultural Statistics Service and World Agricultural Outlook Board, starting in January.
USDA on Sept. 19 said it would change the release time of several major statistical reports from the current 8:30 a.m. EST to noon EST in response to the expanded electronic and open-outcry trading hours instituted earlier this year by the major U.S. commodity exchanges. The USDA reports affected are: World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, Acreage, Crop Production, Grain Stocks, Prospective Plantings and Small Grains Summary. USDA said it would retain the current 3 p.m. EST release time for livestock-related reports.
In response to a USDA notice seeking public comment, NGFA submitted a statement urging that USDA to shift the release of each of the aforementioned key statistical reports to a time of day when the greatest trading volume and deepest market liquidity exist. In its statement today, the nation’s largest trade association comprising commercial hedgers of grains, oilseeds, feed and feed ingredients, and grain products said USDA’s action should assist market participants by minimizing added market volatility that could result if the reports were issued in more thinly traded times of the day.
But even with the USDA-announced change in release times, the NGFA said it continues to discuss with the commodity exchanges its previous proposal to also institute a “pause” in electronic and open-outcry trading surrounding the release times of these key USDA statistical reports to provide equal access to the data to all market participants and to allow time for the market to rationally analyze the information once it is issued.
The NGFA noted it had recommended such a pause in its previous statement to USDA, recognizing that implementing and enforcing such a pause likely was beyond the department’s control. But the association noted that USDA, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the futures exchanges, farm and commodity groups and other stakeholders have a “clear interest in helping create an environment in which its major statistical reports do not roil markets to the extent that producers and agribusiness firms reliant upon them are disadvantaged or competitively harmed.”