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-Corn sales at top end of expectations – marketing year high
-Soybean sales higher than expected
-Wheat sales higher than expected
-SBM/SBO sales remain strong

U.S. corn sales, for the week ended 3/19/20, were 1.814 MMT (71.4 million bushels), at the very top end of expected strong sales of 900k-1.8 MMT and were the highest of the 2019/20 marketing year so far. Strong sales were anticipated given the previous USDA daily announcements of sales being made to China, which were reflected in today’s data with 756k tonnes in total sales. Other sales of note included 244k tonnes to Japan, 199k tonnes to Mexico and 132k tonnes to South Korea. Total commitments of 1.214 billion bushels are gaining on last year, as total corn sales over the last three weeks of 165 million bushels compare to 84 million during the same period a year ago, but are still 28% below 2018/19 commitments at this time of 1.679 billion bushels. Additionally, corn sales will still need to run 58% stronger than year ago levels through the end of August in order to reach the USDA’s 1.725 billion bushel export projection, with the current “needed” sales pace of 19.8 million bushels/week comparing to last year’s 12.5 million/week average from this point of forward. While we are concerned about exports falling short of the USDA’s projection, the recent solid pace of sales may prompt USDA to hold off on making a revision in the April 9 WASDE report.

U.S. soybean sales last week of 904k tonnes (33.2 mil bu) were above market expectations of 400-800k tonnes, were a 13-week high and were notably better than last year’s same-week sales of just 9.1 million bushels. This week’s activity included 199k tonnes in sales to China, along with nearly 500k tonnes in new sales reported as unknown. While year ago sales this week were just 6.7 million bushels, next week’s sales will be going up against monster sales last year of nearly 75 million bushels. Total commitments of 1.319 billion bushels remain down 13.7% from last year’s 1.529 billion at this time, while the USDA is projecting a 4.4% increase in annual exports. In order to reach the USDA’s 1.825 billion bushel target, soybean sales will need to average roughly 21.6 million bushels/week through the end of August, nearly double last year’s 11.5 million/week average, obviously requiring additional considerable Chinese purchases if there is any hope.

U.S. wheat sales were solid, as well, at 740k tonnes (27.2 mil bu), above market expectations of 200-500k tonnes as well as last year’s same-week sales of 17.4 million bushels, and were the highest in 13 weeks. This week’s activity included 200k tonnes to China, 170k HRW and 30k HRS, as well as 165k to South Korea and 144k to Japan. The 170k tonnes in old crop HRW sales to China were more than reported by USDA in the daily announcements as only 55k tonnes were included at the time. Today’s report also reflected 285k tonnes in new crop HRW sales to China, as well, which matched the USDA’s previous daily announcement. Total commitments of 908 million bushels are up 4.6% from last year’s 868 million, leaving sales needing to average just 5.2 million bushels/week through the end of May in order to reach the USDA’s 1.000 billion bushel export projection vs last year’s 8.2 million/week average from this point forward. The pace of old crop sales certainly supports the USDA’s projection, but it will come down to whether actual loadings pick up enough as the marketing year winds down.

U.S. soybean meal sales of 251k tonnes were within market expectations of 100-350k tonnes, recovering strongly from the previous week’s 80k tonnes and were the 2nd highest of the last 8 weeks. While slowing from the torrid sales pace in January, SBM sales over the last 5 weeks have still averaged a very impressive 195k tonnes/week vs 150k/week during the same period last year and easily outpacing the roughly 107k tonne/week average needed to reach the USDA’s export projection. Total commitments are now down just 5.1% from last year, the smallest year-over-year deficit so far. Soybean oil sales of 56k tonnes were well above market expectations of 8-30k thanks to 35k tonnes in sales to South Korea. Total commitments are now up nearly 52% from last year, the largest year-over-year gain of 2019/20, spurring the need for another USDA export projection increase.

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