Other Voices: Federal government shutdown - The Packer

Other Voices: Federal government shutdown

10/04/2013 09:20:00 AM
The Packer staff

Closing of the E-Verify system, which checks information provided by employees against millions of government records, was one result as the government went into its first shutdown in 17 years.

“Business people are making decisions,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, whose department will stop issuing crop reports and processing loans for small rural businesses.

“They have to make decisions today, and the reality is that they are faced with this enormous uncertainty,” Vilsack said. “The fact is, when you’re faced with uncertainty, you pull back. You don’t make decisions you might otherwise make. You don’t expand, you don’t invest.”

Impact of U.S. shutdown on ag markets muted

By Kelvin Heppner, steinbachonline.com, Oct. 3

The impact of the U.S. government shutdown on agricultural markets has been muted so far, says the chief economist with Farm Credit Canada.

“The impact will depend on how long the shutdown lasts,” says JP Gervais. “Shorter-term I think it’s relatively minor, but long-term it raises a number of issues.”

Traders are working with less information as most of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Ag Market Service reports have been cancelled since Monday night, and market participants are beginning to expect the October crop supply and demand report will be delayed.

“I think the next big thing is this report the USDA was scheduled to release on Oct. 11. It really happens at a critical time of year with harvest going on,” says Gervais. “If we go into Oct. 10 or 11 or beyond that, then who knows when that report will be released, and when it or the next one comes out, I would expect markets would be quite nervous about what the report will say.”

He notes it appears the shutdown has not yet had a major effect on Canadian exports at border crossings, adding there might even be a silver lining for Canadian agriculture in the U.S. shutdown.

“All the budget the USDA has to promote U.S. products in foreign markets, that budget is gone. So maybe we will be able to steal a little bit of sales,” he says.

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