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WEEKLY EXPORT REPORT: Soybeans blast past expectations

Soybean exports nearly double trade expectations after huge sales reported.

By Ben Potter

Trade estimates ahead of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly export sales report tend to be pretty solid – but those numbers can fly out the window when a string of large sales are reported.

USDA reports any daily sales activity exceeding 100,000 metric tons (about 3.67 million bu.). Such a sale was reported for soybeans every day last week. That tallied 85.9 million bu. in old-crop sales for the week ending Sept. 14 -- above the trade estimate of 49.6 million bu. and well beyond USDA’s forecast of 24.8 million bu. 

Major soybean sales were reported for China, unknown destinations, Mexico, Taiwan and Pakistan. Export shipments totaled 34.7 million bu. and primarily went to China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Mexico and Costa Rica.

Meanwhile, corn export sales posted much more tepid results. Old-crop sales totaled 20.7 million bu., which was below last week’s total of 41.2 million bu., trade estimates of 33.5 million bu. and USDA’s forecast of 29.5 million bu. Top sales were made for Mexico (10.4 million bu.), Japan (4.4 million bu.), Colombia (2.9 million bu.), Costa Rica (1.2 million bu.) and Peru (948,774 bu.). Top export shipments headed to Mexico, Peru, Japan, Colombia and Costa Rica.

Wheat sales were down another 3% from a week ago and were 24% lower than the four-week average. Old-crop sales totaled 11.3 million bu., which was lower than both trade estimates of 14.7 million bu. and USDA’s forecast of 13.7 million bu.

Export shipments for wheat also lagged – 3% lower than a week ago and 9% lower than the four-week average. Top destinations included the Philippines (4.4 million bu.), Mexico (2.5 million bu.), Nigeria (2.1 million bu.), Kenya (1.5 million bu.) and Guatemala (1.2 million bu.). 

Wheat posted an anemic 11.6 million bu. in old-crop sales for the week ending Sept. 7. That was below last week’s totals of 13.8 million bu., trade estimates of 16.5 million bu. and USDA forecasts of 13.6 million bu. Net sales were down 16% from a week ago and were 34% off the four-week average.

Soybean meal export shipments were up 39% from a week ago but still off 4% from the four-week average. Soybean oil export shipments were up significantly from a week ago (but net sales were down).

Highlights from other crops include:

  • Cotton – Net sales were 28% higher than the four-week average, and export shipments were 53% higher than a week ago.
  • Rice – Net sales were 37% higher than a week ago but down 7% from the four-week average. Export shipments were up 17% from a week ago and were 81% higher than the four-week average.
  • Sorghum – Net sales totaled 2.0 million bu., with increases for China partially offset by reductions from unknown destinations. Export shipments of 2.8 million bu. were reported, headed primarily to China and Mexico.
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