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USDA Reviews Release Time for Reports as Trading Expands

May 25 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it is reviewing the release time of its major crop and livestock reports after commodity exchanges expanded their trading hours.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service and the World Agricultural Outlook Board are seeking public comment on changing the release times, the USDA said today in a statement on its website. Current release times will remain in effect while the department conducts its review.

“It is important that USDA continues to ensure the integrity of its report release process, particularly as global exchanges move closer to 24-hour trading,” Joe Glauber, the USDA’s chief economist, said in a statement. “USDA is reviewing our procedures and will solicit public input.”

CME Group Inc., the world’s largest futures exchange, expanded electronic trading in grain markets on May 20 to 21 hours a day Sunday through Friday, up from 17 hours. A week earlier, Intercontinental Exchange Inc. began offering grain futures for the first time on its electronic exchange 22 hours a day, to compete with the CME’s Chicago Board of Trade.

Earlier today, CME Group said it will expand the hours of the open-outcry trading pits in Chicago on days when the USDA releases major reports. The pits, where traders shout orders and use hand signals, will open at 7:15 a.m. Chicago time on report days rather than 9:30 a.m., starting with the USDA’s June 12 report. The department, based in Washington, releases most major reports at 7:30 a.m. Chicago time.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Bjerga in Washington at abjerga@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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