The US Department of Agriculture will decide on Friday whether to postpone a series of major crop reports scheduled for release on Jan. 11, USDA chief economist Robert Johansson told Reuters on Wednesday -market.
The agency had previously said that reports could be suspended in view of the partial halt of the US government, worrying grain traders awaiting the data.
The shutdown, which entered its 12th day on Wednesday, has already led the USDA to suspend daily and weekly export sales reports.
USDA’s monthly supply and demand report are considered by traders as the standard for crop forecasts. Its disclosure, around the 10th of every month, often stirs grain prices on the Chicago Stock Exchange.
Data from the next monthly report will reflect USDA’s projected size of US soybean stocks after a record harvest and a trade war with China, the world’s largest oilseed buyer, that has squeezed US exports.
The report will include the latest USDA correction on everything from corn and soybeans in Brazil and Argentina’s top exporters to projected wheat exports from major suppliers such as Russia, the European Union, Argentina, and Australia.
“At this time, we still have time to finalize it (the report) if we have a resumption of funding (to USDA activities). We still hope for that,” Johansson said in an interview.
If the government is still stalled on Friday, however, the USDA will postpone the reports, he said.
“We took some time to get them together, so even if we have the resources next week … we still need some time to get the analyzes and reports together and get them out there,” Johansson explained.
In that case, the reports would be released at a later date, he said, depending on how soon USDA officials will return to work.