(Reuters) – The U.S. Agriculture Department (USDA) on Wednesday said it would not publish weekly export sales data for crops like corn, soybeans and wheat until Sept. 15 at the earliest, leaving grain traders in the dark about overseas demand.
The USDA is struggling to launch a new reporting system for the data, which has a week-long delay and is analyzed by traders and farmers.
The agency on Aug. 25 retracted weekly export data it had released earlier in the day after a technical misstep with the new system left traders scrambling and caused uncertainty in agricultural futures markets.
The agency’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) said it will revert to the “legacy system while we work to fully resolve the issues with the new system.”
“FAS recognizes the impacts of the problems that arose from this rollout,” FAS Administrator Daniel Whitley said in a statement. “Despite the measures taken over many months to transition to the new system, we understand that further action is necessary to ensure credible and accurate data reporting.”
The data, normally issued each Thursday, serves as an alert of the possible impact that export sales may have on U.S. supplies and prices, according to the USDA.
Congress mandated the export sales reporting program in 1973, a year after the former Soviet Union made large, unanticipated purchases of U.S. wheat and corn that depleted U.S. reserves and pushed up food prices, the agency said.
(Reporting by Seher Dareen in Bengaluru and Tom Polansek in Chicago; Editing by Chris Reese)