Container ship on ocean at sunset or sunrise. tcly/ThinkstockPhoto

Weekly Grain Movement – Signs of life from China?

New export activity leaves grain markets hopeful to start the week.

For the week ending August 9, export inspection activity for soybeans was not necessarily impressive overall, but activity for China has grain markets feeling hopeful to start the week. Corn and wheat also reported moderately healthy numbers last week.

 

Soybean export inspections last week totaled 21.3 million bushels – moderately below the prior week’s total of 32.8 million bushels and on the low end of the trade guess, with estimates ranging from 18 million to 33 million bushels. The weekly rate needed to match USDA forecasts is now 25.6 million bushels, with marketing year-to-date totals of 1.983 billion bushels down 3.2% year-over-year for 2017/18.

Iran was the No. 1 destination for U.S. soybean export inspections last week, with 4.9 million bushels. Other top destinations included Mexico (4.0 million), the Netherlands (4.0 million), China (2.3 million) and Argentina (1.2 million)

“Another ship was loaded out August 5 from the PNW bound for China, the MG Mercury with 2.3 million bushels, following news today that the Peak Pegasus is unloading its cargo, finally,” notes Farm Futures senior grain market analyst Bryce Knorr. “That was the ship that didn’t make it to Dalian in time to beat the sanctions. Reuters is reporting the buyer will pay the tariff and attributed the delay to port congestion, not the tariff. U.S. soybeans for immediate delivery out of the Gulf are trading $2.25 a bushel cheaper than October delivery out of the Gulf.”

In addition to the MG Mercury, three more ships are either in port or bound for China. That’s one reason for the modest rebound in soybean prices Monday morning.

Corn export inspections reached 49.7 million bushels last week, just a hair under the prior week’s total of 50.7 million bushels and in the middle of trade expectations, which ranged between 31 million and 63 million bushels. The rate needed to meet USDA forecasts moves higher, however, to 68.1 million bushels, with year-to-date totals for the 2017/18 marketing year reaching 2.128 billion bushels, which is still down around 1% from a year ago.

Mexico was the No. 1 destination for U.S. corn export inspections last week, with 16.7 million bushels. Other top destinations included Japan (10.9 million), Colombia (5.8 million), Peru (4.3 million) and Taiwan (3.4 million).

Wheat export inspections rebounded somewhat last week with 17.0 million bushels, up from the prior week’s total of 12.0 million bushels and exceeding trade estimates of 11 million to 15 million bushels. Still, the weekly rate needed to meet USDA forecasts climbed slightly to 19.0 million bushels, with marketing year-to-date totals for the young 2018/19 marketing year (which began July 1) falling 38% below the prior marketing year with 140 million bushels.

Mexico led all destinations of U.S. wheat export inspections last week, with 3.3 million bushels – followed by Japan (3.1 million), the Philippines (2.4 million), South Korea (2.0 million), Iraq (1.9 million) and Yemen (1.7 million).

 

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