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Weekly Export Sales: China purchases continue to roll in

Country buys a majority of U.S. soybeans last week.

As U.S.-China trade negotiations drag on, at least there are signs of life for soybean exports to China, according to the latest round of data from USDA, out Thursday morning.

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“China continues to chalk up export purchases of U.S. soybeans, taking a net 66.7 million bushels in the latest week and now accounting for 24% of total U.S. commitments,” according to Farm Futures senior grain market analyst Bryce Knorr. “Corn sales were also good, but shipments are slowing down as soybean business booms and the river system remains hampered by high water and high barge freight rates.”

U.S. soybean exports for the week ending February 21 totaled 80.7 million bushels, and China accounted for 82% of those sales, with 66.7 million bushels. Analysts were expecting the agency to show much more modest soybean sales between 18.4 million and 36.7 million bushels last week. The remainder of the latest batch of sales were picked up by the Netherlands, Germany, Egypt and Taiwan.

Soybean export shipments last week were also robust, reaching 83.4 million bushels. China was again the runaway No. 1 destination, with 50.8 million bushels. Other top destinations included the Netherlands, Germany, Mexico and Thailand.

Corn exports last week tallied 48.8 million bushels in old crop sales plus another 4.7 million bushels in new crop sales for a total of 53.6 million bushels, which surpassed the average trade guess that ranged between 27.6 million and 51.2 million bushels. Mexico picked up around a third of those sales, with 15.6 million bushels. Other top destinations included Japan, South Korea, Colombia and Morocco.

Corn export shipments were lower, at 30.3 million bushels. Mexico was the No. 1 destination, with 11.5 million bushels. Other top destinations included Japan, Peru, Colombia and South Korea.

Wheat export sales found 17.5 million bushels in old crop sales plus another 2.2 million bushels in new crop sales for a total of 19.7 million bushels, which was on the high end of trade guesses that ranged between 7.3 million and 22.0 million bushels. Indonesia made an appearance at the top spot, with 6.2 million bushels. Other leading destinations included fellow Asian countries such as the Philippines, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

“Wheat continues to lag behind the rate needed to reach USDA’s forecast for the 2018 marketing year, making it unlikely it will reach the government’s forecast,” Knorr notes.

Wheat export shipments were for 24.5 million bushels and are headed for Yemen, the Philippines, Nigeria, Taiwan and Iraq.

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