Factbox: Effect on commodity markets due to US government shutdown


(Reuters) – Commodities markets were trading normally on Monday, although major regulators, including the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), will operate with reduced teams due to the U.S. government shutdown.

FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Capitol is seen from behind trees after President Donald Trump and the U.S. Congress failed to reach an agreement on funding for federal agencies in Washington, U.S. January 20, 2018 . REUTERS / Joshua Roberts

During closures, non-essential government employees are placed on leave or on temporary leave without pay. Workers deemed essential, including those concerned with public and national security, continue to work.

Private exchange traders are generally not affected, but weekly economic reports from the US Department of Energy and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), essential for traders, have in the past been delayed until the reopening of government.

FINANCIAL MONITORING: The CFTC said it should immediately lay off 95% of employees. A spokeswoman for the agency said the derivatives regulator could, however, call in additional staff in the event of an emergency in the financial markets.

The 2013 shutdown meant that weekly figures on options and futures positions were postponed until the government reopened.

ENERGY: The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Monday that normal data collection and releases will continue “until further notice” as it may operate for a short time despite the shutdown.

In 2013, the EIA did not send weekly reports on US inventories, along with other reports, during the holidays. Respondents to the ministry’s surveys were told they could continue to submit data, but no one would be able to answer technical questions.

A notice on the Energy Department’s website said the only functions that will continue are those related to public safety or property protection.

The United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said in a statement Friday that it would continue to operate until further notice because it still had funds, although it would retain only 4.6% of its total of employees and contractors during the shutdown.

Energy market surveillance will be at a minimum, according to its contingency plan. The same goes for monitoring the mass electricity grid and “threats to energy infrastructure” under the jurisdiction of FERC.

AGRICULTURE: The USDA has said the shutdown could result in a halt in the preparation and publication of the monthly report on global agricultural supply and demand estimates, although the next release is not until February 8.

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, in a statement released Friday, said none of its reports would be released until the government reopens. NASS was due to release monthly cold storage data on Tuesday and monthly feed cattle data on Friday – reports that can move cattle and hog futures to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service Bureau said Monday it would continue to operate. The bureau publishes the prices of livestock, meat and dairy products daily, some of which are used to settle CME futures contracts.

Reporting by David Gaffen, Michael Hirtzer, Devika Krishna Kumar, Tim Gardner, Theopolis Waters and Julie Ingwersen; Editing by Jonathan Oatis

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