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Corn flowing into grate. DarcyMaulsby/ThinkstockPhotos

Weekly Export Sales - Wheat and corn break new ground

Volume notches a marketing-year high for both commodities.

Export sales were rather bullish for the week ending December 12 – especially for corn and wheat, which both reached marketing-year highs. Soybean sales also climbed 18% above the prior four-week average. However, traders mostly shrugged off the news, which was somewhat baked in from gains earned earlier this week.

Corn export sales boomed to 88.4 million bushels, coming in 96% above the prior week’s tally thanks to a large sale reported to Mexico last week. Still, totals came in on the low end of trade guesses that ranged between 67.9 million and 106.3 million bushels because analysts had already factored in that sale. Aside from Mexico’s mammoth haul of 66.5 million bushels, Japan, Colombia, Saudi Arabia and Canada rounded out the top five destinations.

“The marketing-year high record of corn sales set this week provided the increased demand news that corn markets sorely needed,” says Jacquie Holland, Farm Futures grain market analyst. “Futures are up on the export news, indicating last week’s exports could provide price support heading into the new year.”

Corn export shipments also reached a marketing-year high, with 28.3 million bushels, which was 36% better than the prior week’s tally and 23% above the prior four-week average. Mexico was again the No. 1 destination, with 11.6 million bushels, followed by Japan, Saudi Arabia, Colombia and Costa Rica.

Wheat export sales had the best single week in more than six years after reaching 31.9 million bushels – zooming 95% ahead of the prior four-week average. That also beat out all trade guesses, which ranged between 7.3 million and 22.0 million bushels. The Philippines, Mexico, unknown destinations, Indonesia and Thailand accounted for the bulk of these sales. Cumulative sales for this marketing year remain firmly ahead of 2018/19, with 488.7 million bushels so far.

Wheat export shipments also bested the prior four-week average by 37% after reaching 19.5 million bushels. Mexico was the No. 1 destination, with 4.4 million bushels, followed by Taiwan, Japan, Thailand and Nigeria.

Soybean export sales were less impressive when weighed against corn and wheat’s achievements last week but still hauled in a respectable 53.9 million bushels, which was 36% above the prior week’s tally and 18% better than the prior four-week average.

Analysts had mostly expected this total, with trade guesses that ranged between 34.9 million and 66.1 million. China accounted for nearly half of the total, with 25.3 million bushels. Marketing-year totals are now at 692.1 million bushels, staying 22% ahead of 2018/19’s pace.

“Sales to China increased last week thanks to the trade waivers, but demand is still lacking,” Holland says. “Lower export demand from the Chinese in U.S. markets could be a function of reduced demand for hog feed and plentiful stocks, but the Chinese are likely waiting for lower-priced soybeans to come to market from Brazil’s anticipated record harvest.”

Soybean export shipments slipped 3% below the prior week’s tally and 18% below the prior four-week tally, with 51.7 million bushels. China took more than half of that total, with Spain, Mexico, Pakistan and South Korea filling out the top five.

Click here for a full rundown of the most recent USDA export sales highlights.

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