With stocks of U.S. corn starting to run thin and prices near all-time highs, traders expected the latest weekly sales totals from USDA to show a slump in new business. But the agency reported total sales that doubled market guesses, though actual shipments continue to lag forecasts.
While only 6.8 million of the 26.2 million total for corn were designated as old crop, that was still up considerably from the previous week's marketing year low. Japan, which also has big new crop needs to fill, took the bulk of the total, while Mexico was the leading buyer of 2012 corn.
Total net new bookings of soybeans were down from the previous week's huge total, which included one of the biggest one-day deals in history. Still, total sales hit 27.9 million bushels, well above the market's expectations. China, the world's leading soybean importer, took most of the beans, despite ideas its buying has slowed recently. China also accounted for most of the week's new crop deals and shipments.
While total commitments – actual shipments plus unshipped sales – exceeds USDA's forecast for the 2011 crop marketing year, shipments are still a little behind the normal percentage shipped. However, shipments of 15.9 million bushels in the latest week narrowed the gap considerably, suggesting actual business may be better than currently forecast by the government.
Wheat sales lagged the field this week, though shrinking world supplies are expected to boost sales eventually this year. Most buyers took a cargo or less, except the Philippines, which bought 4.1 million bushels in the latest week.
Egypt, the world's biggest wheat importer, has been a slow buyer this year, saying it has bought six month's supply from local growers. Other Middle East buyers may be stepping back into the market, with Iraq putting out a tender today that closes July 22.