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Weekly Grain Movement – More lackluster results

Corn, soybeans and wheat all tally mediocre export inspection totals last week.

The latest batch of USDA export inspection data didn’t reveal much bullish news, as totals for corn, soybeans and wheat mostly mirrored the prior week’s mediocre results.

“Totals for all three crops were lackluster last week,” according to Farm Futures senior grain market analyst Bryce Knorr. “Movement to China continues to chug along, but shipments need a strong half to the 2018 to reach USDA’s forecast for the crop.”

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Tariffs limited shipments to China during the first half of the 2018/19 marketing year, and sales to that country are picking up but remain relatively restrained, Knorr adds.

“China accounts for 15% of year-to-date shipments well behind normal years, when demand is front-loaded into the first half of the marketing year,” he says.

Weekly U.S. soybean export inspections for the week ending March 7 reached 32.1 million bushels, which was slightly above the prior week’s tally of 31.2 million bushels and in the middle of trade estimates that ranged between 25 million and 38 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2018/19 marketing year reached 986 million bushels, falling 32% below the pace of 2017/18.

China was the No. 1 destination last week, with 14.2 million bushels. Other top destinations included Mexico (7.2 million), Japan (3.2 million), the Netherlands (2.9 million) and Indonesia (1.2 million).

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Weekly U.S. corn export inspections topped 30.1 million bushels for the week ending March 7, easing below the prior week’s total of 34.1 million bushels and falling below the average trade guess, which ranged between 31 million and 39 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2018/19 marketing year are now at 1.046 billion bushels – trending about 30% higher year-over-year.

“Corn business was stronger than normal during the first six months of the 2018 crop year,” Knorr says. “A strong second half will still be needed, even though year-to-date totals are up significantly from a year ago.”

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Weekly U.S. wheat export inspections for the week ending March 7 reached 21.8 million bushels, which put it ahead of the prior week’s total of 18.0 million bushels and on the high end of trade estimates, which ranged between 16 million and 23 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2018/19 marketing year reached 647 million bushels, still trending 6% lower year-over-year.

“Wheat movement increased last week but could struggle to catch up to USDA’s forecast,” Knorr says.

Indonesia was the No. 1 destination for U.S. wheat export inspections last week, with 5.6 million bushels. Other top destinations included Yemen (3.3 million), Nigeria (2.7 million), Sudan (2.0 million), Vietnam (1.7 million) and China (1.5 million).

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