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Weekly Export Sales – Soybeans fail to inspireWeekly Export Sales – Soybeans fail to inspire

Corn and wheat also turn in tepid results this past week

Ben Potter

October 24, 2019

3 Min Read

For the week ending October 17, good news was hard to find when it came to reviewing the latest round of export sales data from USDA. That was true of corn, wheat and especially soybeans.

“USDA’s announcement of the sale of 9.7 million bushels of soybeans to China today under its daily reporting system for large purchases was a much-needed lifeline for bulls because the weekly totals for last week were scant,” according to Farm Futures senior grain market analyst Bryce Knorr.


China purchased just one additional soybean cargo for 2.5 million bushels in the week ending Oct. 17 and total sales to all customers were only 17.5 million bushels, Knorr says.

“With the Chinese government reportedly granting buyers waivers to buy 367 million bushels free of tariffs, a lot of new deals must be put on the books,” he says. “With new crop Brazilian prices below those out of the U.S., those potential buyers may balk at fulfilling the government’s pledge unless the gap between U.S. and Brazil narrows.”


Last week’s soybean sales tally of 17.5 million bushels was only about a third of the prior week’s haul of 58.8 million bushels. It also slumped far below trade estimates of 44.1 million bushels and moved the weekly rate needed to match USDA forecasts higher, to 23.0 million bushels.

Soybean export shipments were more robust, reaching 50.8 million bushels. Even with China’s relative lack of soybean purchases this marketing year, the country still leads all destinations for U.S. soybean export commitments, accounting for 31% of the total. Other leading destinations include unknown destinations (19%), Mexico (13%), the European Union (6%) and Taiwan (5%).


Corn exports didn’t fare much better this past week, notching 19.4 million bushels in old crop sales and another 3.6 million bushels in new crop sales for a total of 23.0 million bushels. That was moderately improved from the prior week’s tepid 14.5 million bushels and barely above trade estimates of 21.7 million bushels, but the weekly rate needed to match USDA forecasts still moved higher, to 33.2 million bushels.

“Corn sales remain stuck in a rut, with only Mexico doing any serious buying,” Knorr notes.

Corn export shipments were a little better, at 19.3 million bushels. For the 2019/20 marketing year, Mexico remains the runaway leader in corn export commitments, accounting for 54% of the total. Other top destinations include Japan (7%), unknown destinations (7%) and Colombia (5%).


Wheat export sales turned in a disappointing 9.6 million bushels last week, falling below the prior week’s tally of 14.5 million bushels and trade estimates of 16.5 million bushels. The weekly rate needed to match USDA forecasts moved higher but remains a reasonable 13.4 million bushels for now.

Wheat export shipments notched another 18.3 million bushels last week. As with corn, Mexico is the top destination for wheat export commitments so far this marketing year, accounting for 15% of the total. Other leading destinations include the Philippines (11%), Japan (10%) and Nigeria (7%).

About the Author(s)

Ben Potter

Senior editor, Farm Futures

Senior Editor Ben Potter brings more than 14 years of professional agricultural communications and journalism experience to Farm Futures. He began working in the industry in the highly specific world of southern row crop production. Since that time, he has expanded his knowledge to cover a broad range of topics relevant to agriculture, including agronomy, machinery, technology, business, marketing, politics and weather. He has won several writing awards from the American Agricultural Editors Association, most recently on two features about drones and farmers who operate distilleries as a side business. Ben is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

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