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Export Sales: Wheat’s ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ moment

Getty/Pro-Stock Studio Wheat kernels with three heads of wheat.
Corn volume lands on the lower end of analyst estimates.

USDA released its data for grain export sales in the week ending Aug. 19, which revealed some interesting insights. Wheat faced a “Jekyll and Hyde” scenario after sales dropped to a marketing-year low and shipments climbed to a marketing-year high. Soybeans posted strong results, which was expected after a flurry of flash sales to China were reported last week. Meanwhile, corn volume was a bit disappointing after spilling to the low end of trade guesses.

Corn exports saw old crop and new crop sales reach 27.2 million bushels last week. Analysts were generally expecting a bigger haul, with trade guesses coming in between 15.7 million and 49.2 million bushels. As the 2020/21 marketing year winds down, cumulative sales retain their commanding lead over last year’s pace, with 2.605 billion bushels.

Corn export shipments tilted 35% below the prior four-week average, to 29.9 million bushels. China was the No. 1 destination, with 13.4 million bushels. Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Venezuela rounded out the top five.

Sorghum export sales fell noticeably week-over-week, to 2.1 million bushels. That grain is bound for China and unknown destinations. Cumulative totals for the 2020/21 marketing year still have a moderate lead over last year’s pace, with 269.2 million bushels.

Soybean exports gathered 2.8 million bushels in old crop sales, plus another 64.3 million bushels in new crop sales, for a total tally of 67.1 million bushels. That was toward the higher end of trade guesses, which ranged between 44.1 million and 78.1 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2020/21 marketing year are still more than 600 million bushels above last year’s pace, with 2.203 billion bushels.

Soybean export shipments tracked 23% higher than the prior four-week average, with 9.6 million bushels. Mexico was the No. 1 destination, with 2.8 million bushels. China, the Netherlands, Indonesia and Colombia filled out the top five.

Wheat export sales spilled to a marketing-year low of 4.3 million bushels after falling 67% below the prior four-week average. That was also below the entire range of trade guesses, which came in between 7.3 million and 22.0 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2021/22 marketing year remain a bit behind last year’s pace, with 184.1 million bushels.

In contrast, wheat export shipments climbed to a marketing-year high of 24.8 million bushels, besting the prior four-week average by 39%. China topped all destinations, with 6.2 million bushels. The Philippines, Mexico, South Korea and Japan rounded out the top five.

Click here for more highlights and insights from the latest USDA report, covering Aug. 13 through Aug. 19.

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