In the latest weekly export inspection report from USDA, covering the week ending August 22, some totals slipped from a week ago but remained on the high end of trade expectations. Soybean export inspections, in particular, were worth noting according to Farm Futures senior grain market analyst Bryce Knorr.
“China shipped out another 22.5 million bushels, reducing its book of outstanding 2018 crop sales to less than 65 million bushels,” he notes. “It appears total soybean exports should reach or maybe even exceed USDA’s forecast of 1.7 billion bushels for the marketing year ending Aug. 31.”
Last week’s soybean tally reached 35.4 million bushels, which was moderately lower than the prior week’s total of 42.6 million but on the high end of trade estimates that ranged between 25 million and 40 million bushels. The weekly rate needed to match USDA forecasts is at a manageable 32.7 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2018/19 marketing year are now at 1.621 billion bushels, which is down 19% from a year ago.
China’s 22.5 million bushels accounted for more than half of all U.S. soybean export inspections last week. Other leading destinations included Mexico (3.9 million), South Korea (2.1 million) and Egypt (2.0 million).
Corn export inspections rose moderately last week after reaching 25.2 million bushels. That tally was also on the high end of trade estimates, ranging between 19 million and 31 million, although the total is not keeping pace with the weekly rate needed to match USDA forecasts, now at 40.4 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2018/19 marketing year are now at 1.887 billion bushels, which is down 12% from a year ago.
“Corn inspections showed the importance of trade agreements, with Mexico and Japan remaining the top buyers,” Knorr says. “While year-to-date inspections don’t look impressive, USDA’s forecast for the marketing year may still be in sight because official Census data is running stronger.”
Mexico (8.5 million) and Japan (6.5 million) were the top two destinations for U.S. corn export inspections last week, accounting for more than half of the total. Other top destinations included Central American countries Costa Rica (3.5 million) and El Salvador (3.3 million).
Wheat export inspections, at 18.1 million bushels, slipped lower than the prior week’s tally of 20.8 million bushels but stayed on the high end of trade guesses that ranged between 14 million and 22 million bushels. The weekly rate needed to match USDA forecasts is now 18.7 million bushels, with cumulative totals for the 2019/20 marketing year staying 27% higher than a year ago after reaching 201 million bushels.
“Wheat inspections were a little below USDA’s forecast weekly rate, but the year-to-date total is off to a good start,” Knorr says.
Mexico was the No. 1 destination for U.S. wheat export inspections last week, with 3.1 million bushels. Other top destinations included Japan (2.8 million), Indonesia (2.2 million) and Guatemala (1.8 million).