-Corn exports higher than expected
-Soybean/wheat exports at bottom of expectations
U.S. corn exports, for the week ended 4/02/20, were solid at 1.271 MMT (50.1 million bushels), above market expectations of 800k-1.2 MMT (31.5-47.2 million bushels) and just surpassing the previous week’s 1.270 MMT (50.0 million bushels) to set a new high for the 2019/20 marketing year. More importantly, this week’s export exceeded the average “needed” pace of roughly 40 million bushels/week in order for the USDA’s 1.725 billion bushel export projection to be reached for the 2nd consecutive week. Last year’s exports from this point forward averaged 30.8 million bushels/week so the shipment pace will need to remain solid for sure, but the overall sales pace of late has been enough to support the USDA’s export projection heading into Thursday’s WASDE report. Cumulative export inspections of 761 million bushels are still down 37% from last year’s 1.210 billion bushels, but continually gaining ground.
U.S. soybean exports last week were just 298k tonnes (11.0 million bushels), at the very bottom of market expectations of 300-650k tonnes (11.0-23.9 million bushels) and declined from the previous week’s 414k tonnes (14.2 million bushels). In just the opposite of corn, soybean exports have set new marketing year lows for two consecutive weeks now. Year ago exports this week were 889k tonnes (32.7 million bushels), prompting the year-over-year gain in cumulative exports, now at 1.172 billion bushels, to decline to just 5.7% from last year’s 1.109 billion. As no surprise, there were virtually no shipments to China this week and will likely be the norm until/unless they buy additional quantities of U.S. soybeans as last week’s Export Sales data showed unshipped purchases of just 335k tonnes. The overall pace of sales and shipments of late certainly justifies USDA lowering their export projection in Thursday’s WASDE report, but it may come down to their perception/expectation of China’s intentions before the end of August. We estimate soybean exports will need to average roughly 27.6 million bushels/week, vs last year’s 27.2 million/week average, in order to reach the USDA’s annual export estimate of 1.825 billion bushels.
U.S. wheat exports last week of 320k tonnes (11.8 million bushels) were also at the bottom of market expectations of 300-550k tonnes (11.0-20.2 million bushels) and declined from the previous week’s 385k tonnes (14.2 million bushels), while falling well below the roughly 27.6 million bushels/week exports need to average if the USDA’s 1.000 billion bushel export projection is to be met. For a while, the pace of sales/shipments was keeping up with USDA export ideas, but that has taken a turn for the worse of late, increasing the odds of export falling a bit short. Cumulative export inspections of 764 million bushels are now up just 7.2% from last year’s 713 million with only 8 full weeks left in the 2019/20 marketing year. Last year’s exports finished strong, averaging 24.7 million bushels/week during April-May with a repeat being needed if exports are going to come close to reaching the USDA’s target.