Cargo Ship Exports Stewart Sutton/ThinkstockPhotos

Weekly Grain Movement – Expectations met (mostly)

Lackluster corn results can’t mirror stronger soybean, wheat volumes.

After a lackluster week of export inspections ending Dec. 7, the following week saw at least two of the three major U.S. grain crops gain some traction.

Soybeans led the way for the week ending Dec. 14, with 65.2 million bushels. That’s well above the week prior’s total of 45.3 million bushels, and also exceeded the trade range estimate of 40.4 million to 51.4 million bushels.

This week a year ago, soybean export inspections hit 64 million bushels. The 2017/18 marketing year’s pace still lags moderately behind 2016/17, with a cumulative volume of 950.6 million bushels versus 1.091 billion bushels a year ago.

China accounted for about two-thirds of the total volume (44.0 million bushels), with Pakistan, the Netherlands, Egypt, South Korea and Portugal also purchasing significant amounts for the week.

Wheat export inspections for the week ending Dec. 14 also came in higher than expected, with 21.5 million bushels. That’s well ahead of volume from a week ago (13.0 million bushels) and bucked the range of trade expectations, which had come in between 9.2 million and 16.5 million bushels.

Export inspections also exceeded year-over-year totals of 17.8 million bushels. However, cumulative volume for the 2017/18 marketing year, which began June 1, is behind 2016/17 totals of 536.1 million bushels, with 503 million bushels.

Indonesia led the way with as the week’s top destination, with 4.3 million bushels. Other leading destinations for wheat included Guatemala, Iraq, Thailand, Ethiopia and Japan.

Corn export inspections slumped comparatively, meantime. Volume of 23.4 million bushels fell just short of the trade estimate range of 23.6 million to 31.5 million bushels. Volume also slumped compared to a week ago (28.3 million bushels) and this week one year prior (31.7 million bushels). Comparatively to soybeans and wheat, 2017/18 corn volume lags further behind cumulative totals from a year ago, currently at just under 60% of 2016/17’s totals to-date.

Mexico accounted for more than half of the weekly volume, with other top destinations including Japan, Saudi Arabia, Peru and Colombia. 

A look at total grain inspections by location showed just over half (54.5%) was shipped via the Gulf of Mexico. Another 30.8% was shipped from Pacific ports, nearly 10% headed to Canada and Mexico via interior locations, and the remainder headed out via ports in the Great Lakes and Atlantic Ocean.

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