grain barge river elevator DarcyMaulsby /iStock/Thinkstock.
This barge on the Mississippi River in eastern Iowa is taking on a load of grain, either corn or soybeans, from area farms.

WEEKLY GRAIN MOVEMENT: Which crops are keeping pace?

Export inspections still a mixed bag early in 2017-18 marketing year.

By Ben Potter

Weekly grain export inspections for the week ending Sept. 14 showcased a mixed bag of results. Soybeans generally have been ahead of 2016 totals but lagged behind the average trade guess for the week. In the meantime, corn and wheat are dragging their feet compared to last year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's corn export inspections totaled 26.6 million bu. – identical to the prior week. However, the average trade guess came in between 31 million and 43 million bu. Plus, the year-to-date totals for 2017-18 stand at only 53 million bu., compared to 115 million bu. for 2016-17. Granted, it’s a small sample size (the marketing year started Sept. 1), but export inspections are undeniably off to a slow start.

For the week ending Sept. 14, top destinations for corn exports included Mexico (11.73 million bu.), Peru (4.47 million bu.), Colombia (3.54 million bu.), Japan (2.84 million bu.) and Costa Rica (1.19 million bu.).

Soybean export inspections fell below the trade estimate of 36-47 million bu., standing at only 34.1 million bu. However, export inspections have started the 2017-18 marketing year fairly strong, with 75 million bu.over a two-week stretch. That’s 5 million bu. above year-over-year totals for 2016-17 and even higher than the five-year average. Typically, sales decline through September before picking up sharply from October through December.

China picked up around three-quarters of all exports for the week ending Sept. 14, with 25.5 million bu. total. Other top destinations included Pakistan (2.5 million bu.), Bangladesh (2.0 million bu.) and Mexico (1.3 million bu.).

USDA wheat export inspections ended up on the high end of the average trade guess, at 17.1 million bu. That’s lower than this week last year, which tallied 21.1 million bu. Even so, the 2017-18 marketing year (which begins June 1 for wheat) has stayed ahead of 2016-17, with 321 million bu. versus 315 million bu. a year ago. With that said, this marks the third consecutive week that export inspections have dragged below 2016-17 and the five-year average.

Top destinations were scattered across the globe and included the Philippines (5.12 million bu.), Mexico (2.28 million bu.), Nigeria (2.20 million bu.), Guatemala (1.78 million bu.), Yemen (1.69 million bu.), Kenya (1.51 million bu.) and Italy (1.14 million bu.).

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