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Weekly Grain Movement – China back at No. 1 for soybeans

Weekly totals for soybeans, corn and wheat all move lower, however.

The latest weekly export inspections data from USDA, released Monday morning and covering the week ending January 24, show corn, soybean and wheat totals all retreating moderately week-over-week. However, there is one bit of welcome news – China is back at its top position for a second-straight week for soybean export inspections after taking a months-long “vacation” amid ongoing trade tensions and tariffs from the U.S.

“China was again the leading destination for U.S. soybeans, though it’s still unclear just how many new purchases buyers there put on the books during the government shutdown,” says Farm Futures senior grain market analyst Bryce Knorr. “No daily totals of large new purchases came out today. Some USDA data sites are back online after being dark for 35 days and Thursday’s weekly report could be significant to the market’s psychology ahead of the now large Feb. 8 USDA reports.”

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Soybean export inspections reached 34.2 million bushels last week, down from the prior week’s total of 41.6 million bushels and below trade estimates that ranged between 36 million and 51 million bushels. The weekly rate needed to match USDA forecasts increased slightly, to 35.9 million bushels. Marketing year-to-date totals of 752 million bushels continue to lose pace with 2017/18’s pace of 1.228 billion bushels.

As mentioned earlier, China was the No. 1 destination for U.S. soybean export inspections last week, with 12.6 million bushels. A diverse group of buyers rounded out last week’s top five, including Egypt (3.6 million), Japan (3.5 million), Indonesia (3.0 million) and the Netherlands (2.9 million).

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Corn export inspections topped 35.2 million bushels last week, which was moderately below the prior week’s tally of 44.4 million bushels and on the low end of trade estimates that ranged between 35 million and 47 million bushels. The weekly rate needed to match USDA forecasts moved higher, to 50.1 million bushels. Marketing year-to-date totals of 846 million bushels remain nearly 56% ahead 2017/18’s pace of 543 million bushels.

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Japan was the No. 1 destination for U.S. corn export inspections last week, with 14.3 million bushels. Other top destinations included Mexico (7.6 million), Saudi Arabia (2.8 million), Costa Rica (2.0 million) and Colombia (1.9 million).

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Wheat export inspections shrank to 13.3 million bushels last week, falling moderately below the prior week’s total of 19.3 million bushels and dropping below trade expectations that ranged between 16 million and 23 million bushels. The weekly rate needed to meet USDA forecasts continued to move higher, reaching 24.8 million bushels. Marketing year-to-date totals of 528 million bushels are still around 11% below 2017/18’s pace of 596 million bushels.

South Korea was last week’s No. 1 destination for U.S. wheat export inspections, with 2.9 million bushels. Other top destinations included Egypt (2.3 million), Oman (2.0 million), Iraq (1.9 million) and Nigeria (1.8 million).

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