Soybean futures pushed higher on Thursday as USDA's weekly export sales of 23.5 million bushels topped expectations, with China the largest single buyer taking 8.93 million bushels.
The 23.5 million was largely new crop, with 7.43 million in old-crop business. Indonesia and Portugal led old-crop buyers, while Indonesia also took some new-crop.
Wheat net sales of 21.93 million topped trade estimates for total sales, but the old-crop portion of nearly 14.8 million was down 16% from the previous week. Wheat futures stayed lower Thursday morning pressured by profit taking after Wednesday's big gains. Wheat traders continue to focus on dry conditions in the southwest Plains where winter wheat is entering its spring-growth phase.
Nigeria and Jamaica led old-crop wheat buyers, while the bulk of new-crop went to unknown destinations, South Korea, Philippines and Japan.
Corn net sales of 29.36 million bushels was all old-crop, up 9% from the previous week on that comparison, but with no new-crop sales, total business was down from the previous week's 31 million total. Buyers were led by Colombia, which included a switch from unknown destinations, and Japan, South Korea, China and Egypt.
Exports appeared to have little impact on Chicago corn futures, with the numbers coming in close to trade estimates. Corn futures remained lower, following wheat. The market lacked major news to guide trading, with U.S. spring planting still a few weeks away and USDA's planting intentions report due March 31.
Soymeal export sales of 242,900 tonnes in old-crop were up 52% from the previous week, with Asia and Latin America the top destinations. Year to date commitments are 5% over last year. Adding in new-crop sales of 244,000 tonnes put the week's total business at 486,900, which cheered Chicago traders who bid soymeal futures higher.