The USDA was unable to deliver its market-moving crop report, often described as its premiere product, for 10 minutes due to a computer outage in Kansas City, prompting suspicions of profiteering in the grain market during the delay on Friday. The USDA apparently did not have a backup system to put the data on the internet on time.
With the shutdown behind it, the USDA will begin today to clear out a month's worth of backlogged data, including major reports that could jolt commodity markets and color farmers' decisions on crops to plant this spring. Chief economist Robert Johansson said there will be one exception — the globe-spanning WASDE report that serves as a monthly crop report for the world.
The Agriculture Department is expected to announce today that a set of major crop reports scheduled for release Jan. 11 will be delayed until the government shutdown is over, said chief economist Robert Johansson.
Barring a breakthrough in negotiations between the White House and Congress, the partial government shutdown will force the USDA to delay next week’s scheduled release of potentially market-moving reports that take a final look at the 2018 crops and provide the first hints of this year’s production.
Bowing to complaints that high-frequency traders are profiting in the 1 or 2 seconds after it releases its market-moving crop reports, the USDA said on Tuesday that it would no longer allow news agencies to look at the reports before they are released. The news agencies transmit their reports at the same instant that USDA makes its data public.