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Weekly Grain Movement – How low can wheat go?

Bow view of fully loaded cargo ship.
Wheat lags, corn improves, soybeans impress.

According to data from the latest USDA export inspections report, wheat has struck a new low for the 2017/18 marketing year, which began June 1. Meanwhile, corn export inspections come in much stronger than a week ago (although year-to-date totals continue to pace far behind 2016/17), and soybeans roll far past trade estimates.

Wheat export inspections dipped to 6.2 million bushels for the week ending Oct. 19, below last week’s total of 11.9 million bushels and below the average trade guess of 11 million to 18 million bushels. Year-to-date volume isn’t far behind the pace of 2016/17, however, with 397 million bushels compared to 416 bushels a year ago.

Top destinations for wheat export inspections last week included Guatemala (1.36 million bushels), the Philippines (1.18 million bushels), Panama (0.85 million bushels), Brazil (0.61 million bushels) and Ethiopia (0.60 million bushels). 

Last week’s corn export inspections easily bested volume from the week prior, with 24.2 million bushels vs. 13.0 million bushels. The volume landed pretty much in the center of the average trade estimates, which ranged from 19 million bushels to 31 million bushels. Total volume continues to stay well behind 2016/17’s year-to-date total of 329 million bushels, with 178 million bushels. The 2017/18 marketing year for corn began Sept. 1.

Top destinations for corn export inspections for the week ending Oct. 19 were fairly evenly split among Mexico (5.86 million bushels), Peru (5.37 million bushels), Japan (5.03 million bushels) and Colombia (4.86 million bushels). 

Buoyed by a series of large export sales last week, soybeans vaulted ahead to 94.2 million bushels in weekly export inspections for the week ending Oct. 19. That was well ahead of last week’s volume of 65.6 million bushels, and handily beat the trade estimates, which ranged from 47 million to 69 million bushels. 

But this week a year ago, soybeans saw an even bigger total of 103.8 million bushels. Year-to-date volume for the 2017/18 marketing year, which begins Sept. 1 in soybeans, is still 30 million bushels lower than a year ago, at 361 million bushels. Typically, U.S. soybean export volume peaks in November and December.

China continues to dominate as a runaway No. 1 destination for soybean inspections, with 66.34 million bushels. Other top destinations included Spain (5.40 million bushels), the Netherlands (3.56 million bushels), Thailand (2.87 million bushels) Vietnam (2.66 million bushels) and Mexico (2.64 million bushels).

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