Weekly export inspections for the week ending March 15 had plenty of news for both market bulls and bears. On the positive side, wheat export inspections bested trade estimates and corn inspections landed on the high end of the trade guess. But soybean export inspection volume tumbled to nearly one-half of the prior week’s volume, further cementing double-digit losses in the grain markets.
Soybean prices were already down nearly 20 cents in midmorning trading, and the latest export inspection data from USDA helped push them down a few more pennies. Soybean export inspections totaled 18.0 million bushels last week, versus an average trade guess that ranged between 25 million and 38 million bushels.
Soybean export inspections also fell well below the prior week’s total of 34.2 million bushels, and it raised the weekly rate needed to meet USDA forecasts to 23.5 million bushels. The year-to-date totals for the 2017/18 marketing year is up to 1.478 billion bushels, which is 12% lower than the pace set in 2016/17.
One big culprit was the relative absence of China, which typically accounts for 60% to 70% of the total volume of soybean export inspections on a weekly basis. It was still the No. 1 destination, with 4.6 million bushels, but only accounted for about one-fourth of total volume. Other top destinations included the Netherlands (2.6 million bushels), Egypt (2.4 million bushels), Mexico (2.0 million bushels) and Japan (1.4 million bushels).
Corn export inspections for the week ending March 15 fared much better, with a total of 55.5 million bushels. That total hit the high end of trade estimates that ranged between 47 million and 59 million bushels, and it barely bested the prior week’s total of 54.2 million bushels. The weekly rate needed to meet USDA’s forecast fell slightly to 54.8 million bushels. The 2017/18 marketing year totals now stand at 856 million bushels, versus 1.192 billion a year ago.
Japan finds itself in the familiar No. 1 position for corn export inspections last week, with 13.0 million bushels. Other familiar faces occupied the other top destinations, including South Korea (10.6 million bushels), Mexico (6.5 million bushels) and Colombia (4.0 million bushels).
Wheat export inspections last week came in at 16.3 million bushels, which barely beat the average trade guess of 10 million to 16 million bushels. It also edged out the prior week’s total of 15.8 million bushels, but the weekly rate needed to meet USDA’s forecast moved upward to 20.2 million bushels. The marketing year-to-date totals have reached 703 million bushels, which is about 7.6% below the pace of 2016/17.
Morocco found itself the top destination for wheat export inspections last week, with a total of 3.5 million bushels. Other top destinations included Japan (2.4 million bushels), South Korea (2.1 million bushels), Thailand (1.8 million bushels) and Mexico (1.6 million bushels).