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Weekly Export Sales: More lowlights than highlights

Cancellations for soybeans put last week’s total at dismal levels.

Anyone in search of positive export trends are bound to be disappointed by the latest USDA export report, out Thursday morning, with corn and soybean totals coming in well below analyst estimates. Soybeans turned in a particularly sour performance, notes Farm Futures senior grain market analyst Bryce Knorr.

“South Asian buyers canceled a raft of soybean purchases, causing the old crop total to go down for the week,” he says. “Only minimal Chinese interest was noted again, with buyers there still sitting on 272 million bushels of unshipped sales as trade negotiations hit a make-or-break moment in Washington this week.”

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Soybean exports saw cancellations totaling 5.5 million bushels in old crop sales, which were offset by 10.9 million bushels in new crop sales for a total of 5.4 million bushels last week. That was less than half of the prior week’s tally of 12.4 million bushels and far below trade estimates of 26.6 million bushels. The weekly rate needed to meet USDA forecasts moved higher, to 13.1 million bushels.

Soybean export shipments reached 34.5 million bushels last week. China leads all destinations for U.S. soybean export commitments this marketing year, accounting for 29% of the total. Other top destinations include the European Union (16%), Mexico (10%), Egypt (5%) and Japan (5%).

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Corn export sales last week were also “nothing to write home about,” Knorr says.

“Sales were less than half the rate needed every week through August to reach USDA’s forecast for this marking year,” he says.

Corn exports saw 11.3 million bushels in old crop sales plus another 300,000 bushels of new crop sales last week, for a total of 11.6 million bushels. That landed well below the prior week’s tally of 31.3 million bushels and trade estimates of 30.5 million bushels. The weekly rate needed to match USDA forecasts moved up to 28.0 million bushels.

Corn export shipments fared better after reaching 40.5 million bushels last week. Mexico leads all destinations for U.S. corn export commitments this marketing year, accounting for 32% of the total. Other top destinations include Japan (22%), Colombia (9%) and South Korea (8%).

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New crop wheat business is picking up as the marketing year ending May 31 winds down, Knorr says.

“Total sales and shipments are good for old crop, but slow shipments may not be enough to push old crop over the finish line to reach USDA’s forecast for the 2018 crop,” he adds.

Wheat exports saw 3.3 million bushels in old crop sales last week, plus another 15.2 million bushels in new crop sales, for a total of 18.5 million bushels. That topped the prior week’s tally of 15.4 million bushels and trade estimates of 14.2 million bushels. The weekly rate needed to reach USDA forecasts shrank to 300,000 bushels as the 2018/19 marketing year draws to a close at the end of this month.

Wheat export shipments totaled 16.4 million bushels last week. Mexico remains the top destination for U.S. wheat export commitments this marketing year, accounting for 13% of the total. Other leading destinations include the Philippines (12%), Japan (11%), Nigeria (6%), Indonesia (6%) and Taiwan (5%).

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