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'Info is vastly insufficient' - US shutdown diary, week 3

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US lawmakers got there in the end, agreeing a deal late on October 16 which spared the world's largest economy the prospect of defaulting on its debt.

It also meant the reopening of the US Department of Agriculture - and with that what? continues the diary, in investors' own words, of the government shutdown, and what its end means for agricultural commodity markets

For the first week's diary, click here, and for the second week click here.

Thursday October 17

US Department of Agriculture returns to work, announces the cancellation of October Wasde, Crop Production and Cotton Ginnings reports, and Crop Progress reports scheduled for October 7 and October 15.

Cattle on Feed and Peanut Prices reports scheduled for October 18 are postponed.

Updated Commitments of Traders reports from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission due on October 25.

"While the lapse in federal funding has ended, [the USDA] has not been able to engage in the necessary data collection and analysis over the past few weeks," USDA.

"Information remains scarce even though the USDA is up and running again.

"Traders don't expect a lot of new information will be released until the USDA can get caught up on everything that happened over the 16-day shutdown." CHS Hedging

"The anticipation that we will see large sales announced by the US government that have accumulated over the last three weeks is still providing support." Darrell Holaday, Country Futures

"The near-term battle is over, but the debate, the problems, the debt, are not over and possibly just beginning.

"The bill that passed will keep the government open until January 15 and the debt limit hike to February 7. There are still issues to work on over the next few weeks." Mike Mawdsley, Market 1

Wednesday October 16

"Talk that China bought more US corn also supported the firmer tone in the corn complex, but with the US government still on 'holiday' there is no way of validating the purchases." Luke Mathews, Commonwealth Bank of Australia

"Unlike equity and bond markets, commodities have ignored the Capitol theatre.

"Across major asset classes, only commodity markets seem disinterested in the drama on Capitol Hill." Societe Generale

Tuesday October 15

"Due to the lack of government data, the technicals are playing a bigger role." Benson Quinn Commodities

"If there is not [US budget] agreement by Thursday, the availability of US Department of Agriculture data will probably be the last thing on our minds." Jack Watts, HGCA

"The US Department of Agriculture shutdown continues to leave an information vacuum for the market, resulting in smaller trading ranges as participants await confirmation of crop size, conditions, and detailed export sales data.

"The price action after the USDA reopens is uncertain but I would expect some volatility to come back into the market." US broker

Monday October 14

"Ag markets continue treading water awaiting the lifting of the US Department of Agriculture blackout on supply and demand updates, additional yield reports, and the degree to which harvest selling fulfils pipeline needs." Richard Feltes, RJ O'Brien

"We start another week with no USDA price and slaughter reporting.

"While there continue to be attempts on the part of market participants to replace some of the information provided by the regular USDA report, the information so far, in our view, is vastly insufficient given the size of the market and the value of product traded." Paragon Economics, Steiner Consulting

"Once the government is open, we believe it will take about five days to issue the October report. Currently the best guess for the release of the October report would be late next week." US Commodities

"Of course the shutdown continues thus no reports out of Washington and none expected this week.

"With little fundamental news to go on, futures markets traded in spread fashion again." Mike Mawdsley, Market 1

"We have been asking analysts around the industry whether they think the USDA will issue a Cattle on Feed report this month.

"All analysts we have contacted have indicated they expect no report will be published, removing a key piece of information with regard to cattle supplies in the first quarter of 2014. It appears likely to us that we could have a missing data point in the series." Paragon Economics, Steiner Consulting


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