Soybean exports near upper end of market expectations
Corn/wheat exports near lower end of market expectations

U.S. soybean exports, for the week ended 8/01/19, were 1.029 MMT (37.8 million bushels), near the upper end of market expectations of 600k-1.1 MMT (22.0-40.4 million bushels), mostly unchanged from the previous week’s 1.064 MMT (39.1 million bushels) and modestly above last year’s same-week exports of 894k tonnes (32.8 million bushels). This week’s activity included 579k tonnes shipped to China, which, based on last week’s Export Sales report, would put their current unshipped purchases balance at around 3.7 MMT. In comments over the weekend, Chinese officials stated they plan to ship around 2.0 MMT of U.S. soybean purchases in August, which, if accurate, would leave roughly 1.7 MMT in old crop sales being carried forward to the 2019/20 marketing year. Based on cumulative Export Inspections of 1.520 billion bushels (down 22.5% from last year) and the difference between official Census Bureau export data and Inspections (+53 million bushels through June), we estimate soybean exports will need to average roughly 28 million bushels/week over the final four full weeks of 2018/19 to reach the USDA’s 1.700 billion bushel estimate. If China ships, on average, 500k tonnes/week (18.4 million bushels) during August, it appears the USDA’s export target will likely be met if shipping activity to non-Chinese destinations remains similar to that of recent weeks over the final weeks of the year.

U.S. corn exports last week of 631k tonnes (24.9 million bushels) were at the lower end of market expectations of 600-750k tonnes (23.6-29.5 million bushels), slightly lower than the previous week’s 668k tonnes (26.3 million bushels) and substantially below last year’s same-week exports of 1.288 MMT (50.7 million bushels). Following last week’s release of June Census Bureau export data, putting the marketing year to date (Sept-June) difference between Census and Inspections shipment data at 198 million bushels, we estimate corn exports over the final four weeks of the 2018/19 marketing year will need to average roughly 21.4 million bushels (544k tonnes)/week, in line with average exports over the last six weeks of 22.5 million bushels/week. However, based on last week’s Export Sales report, there were only 154 million bushels in unshipped old crop sales on the books, which would be down to around 130 million bushels currently as a result of today’s Inspections data, not accounting for any new sales over the last week. If corn exports average 21.4 million bushels/week through the end of August, as needed, unshipped sales at the end of the marketing year would be down to only around 30 million bushels vs the 80 million bushels on average carried over the next marketing year over the last five years (115 million last year). This implies at least a modest amount of additional old crop sales for prompt shipment likely will be needed in the coming weeks in order to reach the USDA’s export projection. While not likely to vary notably, we do feel there is risk 2018/19 exports could fall around 25 million bushels short of the USDA’s projection at this time.

U.S. wheat exports last week of 395k tonnes (14.5 million bushels) were little-changed from the previous week’s 414k tonnes (15.2 million bushels) and were modestly better than last year’s same-week exports of 327k tonnes (12.0 million bushels), bringing 2019/20 cumulative exports to 155 million bushels vs 124 million at this time last year. Wheat exports will need to average roughly 18 million bushels/week through the end of next May in order for the USDA’s 950 million bushel export projection to be met, identical to last year’s exports from this point forward. U.S. wheat exports, over the first 9 weeks of 2019/20, have averaged 17.2 million bushels/week.