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Weekly Grain Movement – China activity ramps up

Soybeans trend higher week-over-week, with corn and wheat slowing

USDA handed out a mixed bag of export inspection data in its latest weekly report Monday morning. Soybeans emerged as the clear winner, trending slightly higher week-over-week and besting analyst expectations, while corn and wheat slumped lower for the week ending July 11.

“Soybean basis surged nearly a nickel last week, and today’s export inspections shows why,” says Farm Futures senior grain market analyst Bryce Knorr. “The total of 31.4 million bushels was strong, and near the level the U.S. needs to move out every week thorough August to reach USDA’s forecast for the 2018 marketing year. China, which has 210 million bushels of outstanding sales on the books, dominated the list of destinations with 16.9 million bushels.”

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Last week’s soybean total was ahead of trade estimates that ranged between 18 million and 29 million bushels. Still, the weekly rate needed to match USDA forecasts moved slightly higher, to 32.7 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2018/19 marketing year, now at 1.416 billion bushels, have slowed 23% year-over-year.

China picked up more than half of all U.S. soybean export inspections last week. Other top destinations included Mexico (4.1 million), Indonesia (2.7 million), Bangladesh (2.0 million) and Peru (1.8 million).

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Corn export inspections eased 6.3% week-over-week after coming in at 26.6 million bushels. The tally landed in the middle of trade estimates that ranged between 19 million and 31 million bushels. The weekly rate needed to match USDA forecasts moved higher, to 42.3 million bushels. Cumulative totals for 2018/19 are down 5.4% from a year ago after reaching 1.734 billion bushels.

“Corn shipments remain seasonally slower than many years, which is why USDA lowered its forecast of 2018 crop sales last week,” Knorr says.

Mexico was the No. 1 destination for U.S. corn export inspections last week, with 10.2 million bushels. Other leading destinations included Japan (7.9 million), Colombia (2.8 million) and South Korea (2.4 million).

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Wheat export inspections fell below trade estimates that ranged between 14 million and 22 million bushels after landing at 11.6 million bushels last week. That was also nearly half of the prior week’s tally of 22.6 million bushels. But marketing year-to-date totals for 2019/20 remain moderately ahead of last year’s pace after reaching 96 million bushels.

“After a couple of good weeks, wheat inspections slipped back to disappointing levels, as none of the scattered destinations was for more than one cargo,” Knorr says. “It’s still early in the marketing year and harvest is behind schedule, but lower world production doesn’t appear to be spooking buyers yet.”

Mexico was the No. 1 destination for U.S. wheat export inspections last week, with 2.1 million bushels. Other top destinations included Taiwan (1.8 million), Japan (1.7 million) and Colombia (1.4 million).

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