September 19, 2012 / 7:48 PM / 6 years ago

USDA shifts release time for key crop reports to noon

(Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture will begin publishing its monthly crop reports at midday starting in January, it said on Wednesday, shifting the release of the world’s most closely watched agricultural data into the middle of the Chicago trading day.

In a move brought on by the CME Group’s (CME.O) shift to nearly round-the-clock trading of its benchmark grain and oilseed contracts, the USDA said the new 12 p.m. EDT (11 a.m. Chicago) release was the best option. Until now the reports were released at 8:30 a.m. EST, when Chicago markets had been shut.

“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 Joseph W. Glauber said in the statement.

Reporting by Jonathan Leff; Editing by Gary Hill

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