Export Sales Taper Off

Uncertainty over Chinese corn exports keeps buyers sidelined

Corn exports remained slow in the latest week, but wheat and soybean sales are also showing signs of tapering off, according to this morning's weekly summary from USDA.

Net new bookings for corn totaled just 14.1 million bushels, just half the rated needed to meet USDA forecast for the marketing year and below trade guesses. Shipments also remain slow, running behind the average pace for the first quarter of the marketing year.

Japan was a buyer in the latest week, but continues to go slower than normal on purchases. Other Asian buyers are also shopping around, with more feed wheat working into rations. Some buyers may also be waiting to see if Chinese corn hits the market in 2009. So far, mixed signals are coming from China. The country removed the export tax on corn recently and there's talk of export rebates as well. However, some officials there are quoted as saying exports will only be minimal as China tries to rebuild stocks for a future of what is expected to be robust growth in feed grain demand.

Slow Asian buying this fall is also limiting new wheat sales, though the strong start to the season in the summer is keeping USDA's goal for the marketing year well in tact. Both sales and shipments are running well ahead of the government's forecast, despite the recent slowdown. Sales could start to pick up a little now that Japan is buying again; new deals were mostly put on hold recently while the government there put into effect new rules following a scandal over tainted imported rice.

Soybeans remain the bright spot in the export lineup, with17.6 million bushels of new sales. That was down from last week and below estimates, but well ahead of the pace needed to meet USDA's forecast. Shipments were also strong, with both more than doubling USDA's weekly forecast.

Today's report was delayed a day due to the Veterans Day observance.

In other demand news this morning, the National Oilseed Processors Association said its members crushed 143.397 million bushels in October, a little less than expected by the trade. The figure was 23 million higher than September but 11 million bushels below last October's total.

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