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Weekly Export Sales – 2019 ends with a whimper

Corn and wheat tumble to marketing-year lows; soybeans also lackluster.

USDA’s latest grain export sales report – covering the period between December 27 and January 2 – didn’t have a lot of upbeat data for a week that lies smack in the middle of the winter doldrums. In fact, corn and wheat export sales languished at marketing-year lows, while soybeans didn’t fare much better after dropping 59% below the prior four-week average. Traders mostly shrugged off the news, however, with grain prices dialing in small gains in anticipation of USDA’s monthly supply and demand report, out later Friday morning.

Corn exports

Corn export sales spilled 70% below the prior week’s tally and 83% below the prior four-week average, landing at 6.4 million bushels. Analysts didn’t have lofty expectations but were still expecting more than double that volume, with trade guesses that ranged between 13.8 million and 30.5 million bushels. Cumulative exports for the 2019/20 marketing year are only at 350.0 million bushels, which is less than half of last year’s pace of 758.5 million bushels.

Corn export shipments fared better, at 20.3 million bushels – good enough to land 15% ahead of last week’s tally and inch 1% ahead of the prior four-week average. Mexico was the No. 1 destination, accounting for just over half of the total with 10.4 million bushels. Other leading destinations included Japan, Colombia, Canada and Honduras.

Wheat exports

Wheat export sales also saw a marketing-year low last week, landing at just under 3.0 million bushels for 2019/20. That total fell 74% from a week ago and 87% below the prior four-week average, and were far below the average trade guess, which ranged between 7.3 million and 20.2 million bushels. Sales for 2020/21 notched another 1.8 million bushels, all headed for the Philippines. Cumulative totals this marketing year, at 532.8 million bushels, remain 16.5% higher year-over-year for now.

Wheat export shipments were for 12.9 million bushels, which inched 4% ahead of the prior week’s tally but still fell 20% below the prior four-week average. Nigeria (2.7 million), the Philippines (2.4 million) and Taiwan (1.9 million) accounted for the bulk of the volume.

Soybean exports

Soybean export sales reached 13.1 million bushels last week, which was 8% better than the prior week but still 59% below the prior four-week average. Analysts were expecting volume to be a bit more robust, with trade guesses ranging between 14.7 million 31.2 million bushels. China only took 2.7 million bushels, falling just below totals from Indonesia and Germany. Cumulative totals for the 2019/20 marketing year, at 807.0 million bushels, remain moderately ahead of last year’s pace of 655.9 million bushels for now.

Soybean export shipments were for 41.1 million bushels, good enough to beat out the prior week’s tally by 4% but still below the prior four-week average by 8%. China accounted for nearly a third of that volume, with 13.0 million bushels. Egypt, Mexico, Indonesia and Germany rounded out the top five.

Click here for a full rundown of last week’s USDA export sales highlights.

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