USDA to change release times of major reports

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and World Agricultural Outlook Board (WAOB) will begin issuing several major USDA statistical reports at 12:00 p.m. EDT beginning in January 2013. The current USDA release time of 8:30 a.m. Eastern will remain in effect until January 1, 2013. USDA statistical reports affected are: World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, Acreage, Crop Production, Grain Stocks, Prospective Plantings, and Small Grains Summary.

Between June 8 and July 9, 2012, USDA sought public comment on the release times for several major statistical reports in response to changes in market hours by major commodity exchanges.  Stakeholders submitted 147 comments through the NASS online response site and via letter and e-mail. The comments received may be viewed on the NASS website.

“USDA considered all comments and thanks everyone for their thoughtful suggestions,” said USDA Chief Economist Joseph W. Glauber. “The shift to a noon release allows for the greatest liquidity in the markets, provides the greatest access to the reports during working hours in the United States, and continues equal access to data among all parties.”

Alan Brugler with Brugler Marketing and Management says the agency claims the shift will result in more liquidity – less volatility in regards to report reaction – and the greatest access to the report among all interested parties.

“They gave us three or four official reasons and the one that gets your attention is the liquidity issue”, said Brugler. “The west coast guys, under the current schedule, are getting up at 5:30a.m. to be able to trade to the report. The new Noon release will bring more people into the market.”

Brugler admits that it is not USDA’s job to bring more people into the market, but certainly no one will complain about having the report released in the middle of the trading day.

Brugler questions why USDA chose to continue to release the reports during the trading session. While he is disappointed in the move – he doesn’t see a major market impact with the change.

“I think the negative is that we have had a tendency to have some pretty wild swings right when the data comes out because of uneven access to the data”, said Brugler. “In a way I am disappointed that USDA didn’t go to a non report time release because we are going to continue to have that volatility.”

Brugler adds that the flip side of that is that you have a sound marketing strategy in place the release time of the report really shouldn’t matter.

The current USDA release time of 8:30 a.m. Eastern will remain in effect until January 1st 2013. The time for livestock reports currently released at 3:00 p.m. will not change.

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