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Weekly Grain Movement – When will China sales materialize?

Soybean export inspections fell relatively flat last week.

The latest export inspection report from USDA, out Monday morning, showed another lackluster round of results, as experts continue to ask: When will China sales pick up?

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“Chinese buyers continue to drag their feet on taking delivery of purchases made after trade talks with the U.S. started again in December – and today that reticence doesn’t look unwarranted,” according to Farm Futures senior grain market analyst Bryce Knorr. “Only 5 million bushels bound for China were inspected last week, leaving a book of unshipped sales of around 275 million bushels. China has made 29% of total purchases so far during the 2018 marketing year, but accounts for just 18% of inspections.”

Corn and wheat inspections fell week-over-week, Knorr notes, with both grains falling below the rate needed to match USDA forecasts.

“Time is running out for wheat – the marketing year ends May 31,” he says. “But corn movement must also improve once the river system reopens finally.”

Soybean export inspections reached 22.1 million bushels for the week ending May 2. That was slightly ahead of the prior week’s tally of 18.6 million bushels and a hair above trade estimates that ranged between 14 million and 22 million bushels. Still, the weekly rate needed to meet USDA forecasts continues to rise, now at 38.5 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2018/19 marketing year are now at 1.182 billion bushels, shrinking 27% lower year-over-year.

The Netherlands topped all destinations for U.S. soybean export inspections last week, with 5.2 million bushels. Other top destinations included China (5.0 million), Taiwan (3.0 million), Mexico (2.5 million) and South Korea (2.2 million).

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Corn export inspections topped 38.5 million bushels last week, which was moderately below the prior week’s tally of 53.8 million bushels but in the middle of the average trade guess, which ranged between 27 million and 48 million bushels. The weekly rate needed to meet USDA forecasts moved up to 49.8 million bushels, with 2018/19 totals at 1.403 billion bushels (up 7.3% year-over-year).

Mexico was the No. 1 destination for U.S. corn export inspections last week after taking another 14.7 million bushels. Other top destinations included Japan (11.9 million), Colombia (2.8 million), South Korea (2.7 million) and El Salvador (2.7 million).

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Wheat export inspections reached 17.6 million bushels last week, which was moderately lower than the prior week’s total of 23.7 million bushels and on the low end of trade guesses, which ranged between 14 million and 29 million bushels. With just a few weeks to go this marketing year, the weekly rate needed to match USDA forecasts moved up to 28.2 million bushels. Marketing year-to-date totals are at 804 million bushels, down 1.6% year-over-year.

Japan topped all destinations for U.S. wheat export inspections last week, with 3.8 million bushels. Other leading destinations included Indonesia (2.7 million), Sri Lanka (2.4 million), South Korea (1.9 million) and Mexico (1.8 million).

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