U.S. grain export inspections for the week ending October 17 showed signs of improvement, especially for soybeans – but that effort came despite major participation from China, notes Farm Futures senior grain market analyst Bryce Knorr.
“The real eye-catcher was China,” he says. “Buyers there have started to ramp up purchases because they need the beans and it looks like the first phase of a trade deal could get done. But even though Chinese buyers have 169 million bushels of unshipped sales on the books, they loaded out just 2.6 million bushels of those on a ship out of Puget Sound.”
Perhaps that’s just a coincidence, Knorr adds, but other customers weren’t shy about taking delivery.
“In all, 17 other countries were listed on this week’s destinations, and seven of them took more soybeans than China,” he says.
Soybeans saw a total tally of 47.6 million bushels in export inspections last week, moving moderately above the prior week’s total of 35.1 million bushels and landing on the high end of trade estimates that ranged between 33 million and 51 million bushels. The weekly rate needed to match USDA forecasts slipped to 34.1 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2019/20 marketing year are now at 237 million bushels, trending 7.2% higher than last year.
Egypt was the No. 1 destination for soybean export inspections last week, with 7.5 million bushels. Other top destinations included Thailand (5.4 million), the Netherlands (5.2 million), Taiwan (5.0 million), Pakistan (4.5 million) and Mexico (4.5 million).
Corn export inspections were less impressive but still moved from 18.9 million bushels the prior week up to 20.9 million bushels. That was in the middle of trade estimates, which ranged between 17 million and 25 million bushels. Still, the weekly rate needed to match USDA forecasts moved higher, to 36.5 million bushels. Year-to-date totals for 2019/20 are far behind last year’s pace of 313 million bushels, after reaching just 120 million bushels so far.
“Corn shipments, though better, are still below the rate forecast by USDA, with only eight destinations noted,” Knorr says. “And just two of those countries, Mexico and Columbia, accounted for more than 75% of the 20.9 million bushels.”
As Knorr points out, Mexico (9.1 million) and Colombia (7.1 million) accounted for the bulk of U.S. corn export inspections last week. Other leading destinations included Jamaica (1.6 million) and Japan (1.4 million).
Wheat export inspections also saw a slight week-over-week improvement, climbing from 18.3 million bushels up to 20.8 million bushels. That was on the high end of trade estimates, which ranged from 14 million to 22 million bushels, and was good enough to fractionally lower the weekly rate needed to meet USDA forecasts, now at 18.3 million bushels. Marketing year-to-date totals are trending 22.5% higher from a year ago after clearing 370 million bushels.
“Wheat inspections were decent, reflecting just as diverse a trade as soybeans,” Knorr says.”
The Philippines led all destinations for wheat export inspections last week, with 6.9 million bushels. Other top destinations included Mexico (3.0 million), Japan (2.3 million) and Guatemala (1.8 million).