The US Energy Information Administration will furlough its staff and cease all data releases and analysis at the close of business Friday due to lack of government funding, the agency said Friday.
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"As a result of the lapse in appropriations ... EIA will need to cease operations and furlough EIA staff at the end of the day on October 11," the agency said in a statement. "Data releases and analyses will not be published during the furlough of EIA staff."
Traders said that, in the absence of EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report, they would rely more heavily on weekly data from the American Petroleum Institute.
The EIA, which publishes critical data used by commodities markets, said its website and social media channels will not be updated as long as the furlough lasts.
But the agency said survey respondents should continue to report data to EIA during the furlough and it "will strive to restore service as quickly as possible after EIA reopens." The data will be processed once the shutdown has ended, it added.
"The schedules for resumption of data releases and reports will be determined after the furlough period is over," EIA said in a statement.
API publishes a similar weekly petroleum and products status report every Tuesday afternoon. The EIA report, which contains more regional detail, normally is issued Wednesday mornings.
API spokesman Carlton Carrol said the group would continue to publish its regular data, but right now isn't planning any changes or additions in light of EIA's decision. INDUSTRY REACTS Industry analysts said they would continue to publish estimates and would turn more focus to weekly oil data from the API, among others.
"The market will probably trade off the APIs more than it normally does," said analyst Addison Armstrong of Tradition Energy, of the report that is published 4:30 pm EDT Tuesdays.
Matt Smith, author of The Daily Distillation, concurred that API will be the main focus.
"Aside from that, it will be a case of waiting for the data to be retrospectively updated once furloughed workers return -- a very similar situation to the halt in economic data flow," Smith said.
"They will use API, but I do think it will cause volumes to be lower. Unless the big-money boys ramp up the rumor mill and use [it] to their advantage, its likely going to cause increased volatility," said Houston-based crude trader John Troland.
Tim Evans, commodity analyst at Citi Futures Perspective, said he will spend more time on the API data than he normally would, but would include "a more-detailed disclaimer regarding the risk of relying on estimates based on a smaller sampling."
The analysts said data from companies like Genscape would provide some insight as well.
"We will at least have Cushing data because Genscape has said it will publish its private data on a public site on Wednesday at 10:30 am. At least we'll have something to analyze," Armstrong said.
Carl Larry, president of Oil Outlooks, said APIs will be considered the default, considering their history, noting that Genscape data was "still in trial and error, with most of those calls on Seaway not really building confidence."
"I think that we're going to end up having a pretty weak week [in the futures market]. It's not going to be about oil supply, but with the economy on shaky ground here, it's going to be about the declining demand," Larry said.
Smith said the markets were going to be somewhat "flying blind."
"Just as big a concern from my perspective, is that there is going to be an awful lot of noise for markets to deal with as and when government agencies return to work and start to fill the data holes," Smith said.