Around midnight on Wednesday, August 11th, a group of commodity analysts will gather at a meeting site in the massive South Building of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Washington, D.C. Once they are assembled, the door will be locked. Cell phones will be collected. Phone and Internet lines will be disconnected. Short of a medical emergency, no one will be permitted to leave before 8:30 am.
USDA produces an estimate of world grain production, consumption, and trade by the 12th of each month. The gathered analysts will consult reports from a worldwide network of agricultural attachés, satellite images of crop vegetation, and the latest weather reports. The widely respected World Agricultural Outlook Board’s report, though little known to the public, is of incalculable value to commodity traders, agribusinesses, and farmers—some of whom stand to gain or lose fortunes on the data it contains. More >>>