Export sales: Back to ‘normal’?

Corn, soybeans and wheat return to typical export pattern.

Ben Potter, Senior editor

February 11, 2021

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

USDA’s new export report, covering the week through February 4, held some healthy sales data, although there was a lack of eye-popping numbers that could match last week’s performance, which saw the biggest weekly corn volume on record. Corn’s tally returned to orbit, landing in the middle of analyst estimates. Soybeans climbed to the upper end of trade guesses, meantime, and wheat moved above all analyst estimates last week.

Corn sales notched 57.5 million bushels in old and new crop sales last week. That was 52% below the prior four-week average, but those statistics were skewed by the mammoth performance from a week ago. The total was also near the middle of trade guesses, which ranged between 39.4 million and 70.9 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2020/21 marketing year are now at 849.7 million bushels, which is nearly doubling last year’s pace of 468.1 million bushels.

Corn export shipments found a new marketing-year high, meantime, with 61.6 million bushels. China was the No. 1 destination, with 14.1 million bushels. Japan, Mexico, Colombia and Peru rounded out the top five.

Sorghum export sales moved 73% ahead of the prior week’s tally to 4.3 million bushels. All of that grain is bound for China. Cumulative sales for the 2020/21 have approximately tripled last year’s pace so far, with 108.8 million bushels.

Soybean export sales saw 29.6 million bushels in old crop sales, which was 20% below the prior four-week average. New crop sales chipped in another 6.6 million bushels, for a total of 36.2 million bushels. That was on the higher end of trade estimates, which ranged between 12.9 million and 38.6 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2020/21 marketing year are still well beyond last year’s pace, with 1.828 billion bushels.

Soybean export shipments moved 13% higher week-over-week to reach 81.3 million bushels. China accounted for more than half of that total, with 42.4 million bushels. The Netherlands, Mexico, Taiwan and Egypt filled out the top five.

Wheat old crop export sales climbed 50% above the prior four-week average, to 21.7 million bushels. Another 1.9 million bushels in new crop sales led to a grand total of 23.6 million bushels. That was above the entire range of trade guesses, which were between 7.3 million and 16.5 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2020/21 marketing year are still slightly behind last year’s pace, with 604.3 million bushels.

Wheat export shipments shifted 12% below last week’s pace but remained 8% above the prior four-week average, with 16.1 million bushels. The Philippines topped all other destinations, with 4.3 million bushels. Mexico, Taiwan, Thailand and Colombia rounded out the top five.

Click here for more highlights from the latest USDA export report, covering January 29 through February 4.

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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