Foreign buyers rang in 2014 by taking the week between Christmas and New Years off, at least according to the latest export sales report released this morning by USDA. Net new bookings of corn, soybeans and wheat were all seasonally weak, not an unusual occurrence this time of year when business typically slows.
Soybean sales fell to just 5.7 million bushels in the weekend ending Jan. 2, but already there were signs China was wasting no time resuming its purchases. USDA announced large sales the past three days, including old crop sales of 12.9 million bushels Tuesday and 4.2 million bushels Wednesday. The agency today also said China bought 4 million bushels of 2014 crop beans.
Even before those deals were confirmed, total shipments and sales already on the books exceeded USDA's forecast for the marketing year. That increases potential for USDA to make an adjustment to its estimate in Friday's supply and demand update.
News for wheat and corn was less positive, however. Though USDA did announce the sale of 4.35 million bushels of corn to Mexico on Monday, the total for the previous week to all takers was just 6.1 million bushels. Shipments rejected by China continue to be diverted elsewhere, with Japan taking 2 million bushels of that grain in the latest week.
USDA also announced a wheat sale on Monday, with "unknown destinations" booking 4.6 million bushels of hard red winter wheat and another 1.8 million bushels of soft red. But net new bookings were a marketing low of just 4.1 million bushels between Christmas and New Years, though new crop business lifted the total to 10.8 million.