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Weekly Grain Movement – Anemic sales stir soybean slump

Wheat also comes in weak, but corn comes up big last week.

Ben Potter

May 7, 2018

2 Min Read

For the week ending May 3, corn export inspections came up big, surpassing trade guesses by a moderate margin. That wasn’t enough to lift futures prices, which were down 1% after the latest USDA data was released due to increased planting expectations and other factors. Soybeans slumped even further, meantime, amid anemic export data, albeit with totals that were in line with trade estimates. Wheat also posted another unimpressive export total last week.


Corn export inspections last week reached 75.5 million bushels, beating out any number of comparisons – versus last week (25.4 million bushels), this week a year ago (34.0 million bushels) or trade estimates that ranged between 43 million and 63 million bushels. The weekly rate needed to reach USDA forecasts was cut to 51.0 million bushels, and year-to-date totals chiseled away the deficit from last year, with 1.307 billion bushels (still more than 15.5% behind the pace of 2016/17).


Vietnam was the No. 1 destination for corn export inspections last week, with 10.5 million bushels, followed closely by Mexico (12.1 million), Japan (9.5 million) and South Korea (8.3 million). Another eight countries accounted for at least 1 million bushels in U.S. corn export inspections apiece last week. 


Soybean export inspections reached 19.6 million bushels, which by some accounts could be seen as relatively positive – moderately higher than this week a year ago (13.6 million bushels) and on the high end of the average trade guess between 13 million and 23 million bushels. It did not meet the weekly rate needed to reach USDA forecasts, however, now at 24.8 million bushels, and the elephant in the room (i.e. China) just took another step forward. 


China was not even the No. 1 destination for U.S. soybean export inspections last week, as it so often is. Germany occupies that spot for the week ending May 3, with 3.1 million bushels. China (2.5 million), Tunisia (2.4 million), Pakistan (2.4 million) and Mexico (2.3 million) were other top destinations. 


Wheat export inspections hit 12.0 million last week, down 14.5 million bushels from the prior week but in line with the average trade guess, which ranged between 10 million and 18 million bushels. The weekly rate needed to reach USDA forecasts grows further out of reach, now at 26.9 million bushels. Year-to-date totals for the 2017/18 marketing year also slip behind, now 11.3% down from the prior year at 817 million bushels.


Japan was the No. 1 destination for U.S. wheat inspections last week. The Philippines (2.7 million), Italy (1.3 million) and Mexico (1.2 million) were also top destinations.



About the Author(s)

Ben Potter

Senior editor, Farm Futures

Senior Editor Ben Potter brings two decades of professional agricultural communications and journalism experience to Farm Futures. He began working in the industry in the highly specific world of southern row crop production. Since that time, he has expanded his knowledge to cover a broad range of topics relevant to agriculture, including agronomy, machinery, technology, business, marketing, politics and weather. He has won several writing awards from the American Agricultural Editors Association, most recently on two features about drones and farmers who operate distilleries as a side business. Ben is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

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