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USDA moving big reports to noon in 2013

09/19/2012 @ 3:58pm

Starting next year the U.S. Department of Agriculture will release its closely watched monthly crop reports at noon EDT, three and half hours later than the current 8:30 a.m. release time, the USDA said Wednesday.

The time change is in response to recently expanded futures trading hours. CME Group Inc. (CME), the largest grain futures exchange, in June expanded futures trading to 21 hours per day, up from 17 hours per day, in reaction to newly created grain futures contracts by rival IntercontinentalExchange Inc. (ICE).

The expanded trading hours have meant that the USDA's monthly supply and demand reports, which can cause significant market moves, are for the first time being released while the futures market is trading. CME open outcry trading was moved up on government crop report days to 8:15 a.m. EDT, instead of the typical 10:30 a.m. start, to accommodate floor traders who complained they were shut out of the process.

The reports will continue to be released as the market is trading. The new time includes monthly supply and demand reports as well as acreage, crop production and quarterly grain stock reports. The changes will affect the corn, soybean, wheat and rice markets, as well as several others.

"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," USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber said in a statement.

The USDA won't change the time of livestock reports, which are currently released at 3 p.m. EDT.

A USDA official said they will continue to have a "lockup" period before the reports, during which financial newswires reporters can have access to the reports and compile data to publish at the official release time.

The USDA solicited public comments on possible changes to the report release times in June. Among the 147 comments submitted to the USDA, privately held Cargill Inc., one of the world's biggest commodity traders, asked the USDA to abolish the lockup, arguing that it should have access to the report numbers at the same time as the media.

The new report schedule will take effect in January 2013.

Write to Bill Tomson at bill.tomson@dowjones.com and Ian Berry at ian.berry@dowjones.com
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
September 19, 2012 16:09 ET (20:09 GMT)
DJ UPDATE: USDA to Change Crop Report Release Time to Noon EDT in 2013->copyright

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