The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) delayed several major U.S. and world crop reports because of the two-week-old partial government shutdown, the agency said on Friday. New release dates for the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report and other data originally scheduled for Jan. 11 will be set once government funding is restored, USDA said.
Traders regard the supply and demand report as the gold standard for crop forecasts. Its release often roils Chicago Board of Trade grain and soy futures and sets price direction. Farmers rely on the data to make their planting and harvesting plans.
Aside from U.S. forecasts, the report includes USDA's latest fix on everything from corn and soy production in Brazil and Argentina, both key exporters, to projected wheat exports from top suppliers such as Russia, the European Union, Argentina and Australia.
Also delayed are a quarterly report on U.S. grain stocks, a final U.S. crop production report for 2018 and USDA's report on winter wheat seedings for harvest in 2019.
The shutdown was triggered last month by President Donald Trump's demand for US$ 5 billion to fund a U.S.-Mexico border wall. Democrats who now control the House of Representatives have vowed to fund the government through legislation, but Trump has insisted that any plan to reopen the government include wall money.
Trump and congressional leaders were to meet on Friday to discuss breaking the impasse. About one-quarter of the federal government, including many from the USDA, are off the job.
Farmers already battered by the U.S.-China trade war may also face delays in crucial aid and loan payments from the federal government because of the shutdown