Diminishing crop prospects in South America and uncertain supplies out of the Black Sea have brought more buyers back to the U.S. seeking corn and wheat.
Net new bookings for corn hit 38.4 million bushels in the latest week, according to the tally released today by USDA. Mexico and Japan took most of the grain, though China did book a load of new crop corn as well.
While the weekly total was well above the rate forecast by USDA for the marketing year, actual shipments were a big disappointing at 26.4 million bushels. That could be an indication that shippers are having trouble originating supplies, forcing basis to historically very strong levels last week in the export pipeline.
Wheat sales were also good at 20.4 million bushels, but the big news of the week came in hard red winter wheat, which accounted for almost two-thirds of the total. That was the highest amount since March of 2011. Big buyers included "unknown destinations" and Nigeria.
Soybean sales were again disappointing at just 13.5 million bushels. Buyers appear to be lacking urgency, with damage to the South American crop believed to be not as extensive as problems with corn. Chinese traders were out last week for the Lunar New Year holiday, but that country still accounted for 80% of the new bookings. Soybean shipments were heavy at 43 million bushels. That was well above the weekly rate forecast by USDA for the marketing year.
China is expected to make a large purchase in mid-February, probably for 2012 crop beans, when officials visit Iowa as part of an official delegation that includes the country's vice-premier, who will take over the top slot later this year.
For the complete export report, click here.