Spring is winding down and so are U.S. export sales, though this morning's weekly tally from USDA did hold a few surprises.
Net new bookings of old crop corn, which remains in very tight supply, nearly doubled from the previous week. To be sure, the total was still slender by historical standards at 8.7 million bushels. But that was much better than traders expected in a year when total shipments are expected to reach record low levels for the modern era of international trade. Moreover, the total was above the new rate forecast by USDA for the rest of the marketing year. Government economists lowered their forecast in last week's supply and demand update to just 750 million bushels.
Japan remained the leading destination for U.S. corn, both for sales and shipments.
The surprise in the corn numbers was the low level of new crop sales, just 1.5 million bushels. That suggests end users were confident of a big production number headed into last week's first monthly estimates for 2013 crops.
With only three weeks left in the 2012 crop marketing year for wheat, traders didn't expect much fresh old crop bookings. And 2012 sales were only 4.6 million bushels. New crop deals brought the total for the week to just under 20 million bushels. Declared buyers continue to take only small amounts, though the largest deal went to unknown destinations last week.
Total shipments were strong at 26.7 million bushels, with winter wheat moving ahead of the 2013 harvest. Still, that pace was below the rate forecast for the rest of the marketing year by USDA, which could mean the government remains too high on its old crop estimate.
Soybean sales and shipments were the talk of the market for much of the first three quarters of the marketing year. But the pace of deals has fallen noticeably. Net new bookings of old crop beans totaled just 600,000 bushels, with most of the interest coming from our North American neighbors. New crop sales bought the total for the week to 13.3 million bushels, but that was below trade expectations.