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Weekly Grain Movement – Finding ‘modest’ post-holiday results

Corn, soybean and wheat export inspections all fall week-over-week.

Farm Futures senior grain market analyst Bryce Knorr sums up last week’s weekly export inspection data from USDA in a word: “modest.”

“Export inspections last week were fairly modest, but that’s not unusual for the holiday period,” he notes. Results for the week ending January 3 showcased lower results for corn, wheat and soybeans, with corn seeing the biggest decline.

Corn export inspections last week reached 19.7 million bushels, which was nearly half of the prior week’s tally of 37.5 million bushels and below the average trade guess, which ranged between 25 million and 39 million bushels. The weekly rate needed to match 2019 USDA forecasts moved significantly higher, to 49.2 million bushels, although cumulative marketing year-to-date totals for 2018/19 remain nearly 62% ahead of the pace of 2017/18.

Japan was the runaway No. 1 destination for U.S. corn export inspections last week, with 9.4 million bushels. Other top destinations included Peru (3.5 million), Mexico (2.9 million) and Guatemala (1.4 million).

Soybean export inspections last week reached 24.7 million bushels, easing slightly below the prior week’s total of 27.8 million bushels but landing in the middle of trade estimates, which ranged between 18 million and 31 million bushels. The weekly rate needed to meet USDA forecasts moved ahead to 36.1 million bushels. Year-to-date totals for the 2018/19 marketing year reached 636 million bushels, which is about 42% below the pace of 2017/18 so far.

“Soybeans showed the best strength, but it’s still unclear whether China has resumed taking delivery of purchases made in December when trade tensions with the U.S. began to thaw,” Knorr says. “Today’s inspections report listed more than 2 million bushels bound for China. But vessel tracking services showed the destination of the vessel as bound for Hong Kong out of Olympia, Wash.”

The top destination for U.S. soybean inspections last week was the Netherlands, taking 5.1 million bushels. Other leading destinations included Argentina (3.1 million), Taiwan (2.8 million), China (2.7 million), Pakistan (2.7 million) and Spain (2.6 million).

Wheat export inspections last week landed at 9.6 million bushels, which was moderately below the prior week’s total of 14.0 million bushels and below the average trade guess of 12 million and 22 million bushels. The weekly rate needed to match USDA forecasts moved higher, to 23.9 million bushels, while cumulative totals for the 2018/19 marketing year of 475 million bushels remain about 14% lower year-over-year.

The Philippines topped all destinations for U.S. wheat export inspections last week, accounting for 3.2 million bushels. Other top destinations included Bangladesh (1.8 million) and Mexico (1.8 million).

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