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-Corn exports higher than expected – marketing year high
-Soybean exports near upper end of expectations
-Wheat exports respectable – above expectations

U.S. corn exports, for the week ended 1/21/21, were solid at 1.391 MMT (54.8 million bushels), above market expectations of 900k-1.150 MMT (35.4-45.3 million bushels), up solidly from the previous week’s 915k tonnes (36.0 mil bu) and were a marketing year high through the first 21 weeks of 2020/21. Corn exports have finally begun to pick up the pace as needed if the USDA’s 2.550 billion bushel export projection is to be met. Over the last five weeks, corn exports averaged 47.0 million bushels/week vs 34.0 million/week in the prior 5-week period, with last week’s shipments being the first of the year to reach the average “needed”  weekly export pace of roughly 53.4 million bushels/week. As soybean exports seasonally slow, corn exports typically accelerate with a near record pace needing to be maintained now through the end of August to reach the USDA’s 2.550 billion bushel target. Record exports from this point forward were 55.8 million bushels/week in 2017/18. Interestingly, this week’s activity only included 70.7k tonnes to China, with Japan easily leading the way with 518k tonnes.Cumulative export inspections of 738 million bushels are up 84% from last year’s 400 million. 

U.S. soybean exports last week were solid again at 1.979 MMT (72.7 mil bu), were down from the previous week’s 2.273 MMT (83.5 mil bu), but at the upper end of market expectations of 1.0-2.1 MMT (36.7-77.2 mil bu) and sharply above year ago exports this week of 38.9 million bushels. As no surprise, China continues to dominate shipping activity with 1.220 MMT loaded last week. With cumulative export inspections at 1.664 billion bushels, up 79% from last year’s 927 million, we estimate soybean exports will need to average roughly 15.5 million bushels/week through the end of August in order to reach the USDA’s 2.230 billion bushel export projection vs last year’s 21.4 million/week average from this point forward.

U.S. wheat exports last week were solid at 524k tonnes (19.3 mil bu), a 7-week high, above market expectations of 200-400k tonnes (7.3-14.7 mil bu) and well above last year’s 8.3 million bushels this week. More importantly, this week’s shipments rebounded to meet the average needed pace of roughly 19.1 million bushels/week (the first time in 7 week) if the USDA’s 985 million bushel export projection is to be reached. With 18 weeks left in the 2020/21 marketing year, a late-season uptick in shipment activity clearly will be needed, but we continue to be optimistic it will happen as outstanding/unshipped sales on the books are well above year ago levels and last year’s shipment pace from this point forward averaged 17.8 million bushels/week. Cumulative export inspections of 592 million bushels are nearly identical to last year’s 596 million at this time.

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