Get Ready for ‘Explosive’ Grain Market as Shutdown Quiets USDA

(Bloomberg) -- As the partial U.S. government shutdown enters its second week, the lack of data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is sending market participants to Twitter and other sources to gather crop information.

Most of the department’s key reports -- including figures on export sales -- have been halted since the shutdown began on Dec. 22. Given thin holiday trading last week, the dearth of information sent investors to the sidelines, according to Steve Georgy, the president of agriculture broker and adviser Allendale Inc., based in McHenry, Illinois.

How D.C. Shutdown Will Affect USDA, Government Crop Reports

After the New Year, however, Georgy said traders are going to turn to the media and to Twitter to make up for the lack of government information, and that will lead to higher volatility.

As funds do their usual start-of-year rebalancing, “a lot of money is going to be moved around,” he said. “You have nothing that is tangible from the government, and it’s all hearsay, so it’s more explosive.”

Affected Reports:

ReportUSDA Unit Published During Shutdown?
Weekly grain-export inspectionsAgricultural Marketing Service (AMS)YES
Ad-hoc notices on crop-export sales Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)NO
Weekly crop-export sales Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)NO

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