Traders for the second straight week expected a slowdown in U.S. soybean exports. And, for the second straight week, they were surprised by big numbers of new bookings.
Total old and new crop sales topped 60 million bushels in the latest week, three times the average of pre-report guesses. Moreover, 37.2 million bushels of the total were for old crop, with China accounting for almost half of that. Soybean shipments were also brisk at 39.5 million bushels, well ahead of the pace needed to reach USDA's forecast for the marketing year.
The strong totals should buoy hopes for an extended U.S. selling season spurred by lower production due to drought in South America. Traders expect USDA to cut its forecast of 2011 crop ending stocks by 15 million bushels in Friday's monthly supply and demand report due to the strong pace of sales of late. USDA also announced the sale of 6.1 million bushels of new crop soybeans today to China under its daily reporting system for large purchases.
That deal will show up in next week's totals, along with the purchase of 4.2 million bushels by Japan, also announced this morning under the daily system. Overall corn sales were disappointing in the latest week, coming in a just under 20 million bushels, with shipments of 30.3 million bushels under the rate forecast by the government for the rest of the marketing year. China shipped out another load in the latest week, raising hopes for additional sales due to ongoing questions about the size of the country's 2011 crop. Corn futures in China are trading near record highs as rumors swirl about the size of the crop being grossly exaggerated.
Wheat sales quietly put in a good week, with the total of 21.2 million bushels above trade guesses, though shipments of 15.9 million bushels were on the slow side. Hard wheat classes topped the list this week, though the U.S. again won the latest tender from Egypt, this one for 2.2 million bushels of soft red winter wheat.
For the complete export report, click here.