U.S. export sales remained seasonally slow last week, with few fireworks noted in this morning's USDA report from the period ahead of Independence Day.
One of the few bright spots, a corn sale to China, wasn't a win-win, either. Chinese buyers, who shunned U.S. purchases earlier in the year due to government resistance, took another 2.5 million bushels last week, bringing their total for the 2014 crop to 7.7 million. But after feverishly buying sorghum for much of the year, China again made no purchases of that grain, either old crop or new. Both new and old crop sorghum exports remain at record levels, but the pace is slowing. Only one new crop deal was made the last six weeks, for just 2.1 million bushels, while old crop deals averaged only 740,000 bushels a week over the same period.
Deals in corn continue to focus on old crop, totaling 21.1 million bushels in the latest week. That brings the total of outstanding sales and previous shipments for the marketing year to just 5 million bushels less than USDA forecast for the crop. That pace is ahead of average, but shipments remain relatively slow, though they're starting to pick up as traffic flows return toward normal on the river system following recent floods.
New crop sales are an even greater concern, with only 5.9 million bushels put on the books this week. The total so far is at a five-year low, as Brazil continues to flood the international market with lower priced grain. Some of that surplus may even be headed into the U.S., perhaps piggybacked after shipments of wheat were unloaded to reduce costs.
New crop soybeans sales picked up a little this week, coming in at 7.4 million bushels, but the year-to-date total is still running at four-year lows. China has booked less than 90 million bushels so far, as new crop crush margins there remain depressed.
Sales of old crop soybeans are winding down, totaling only 1.5 million bushels last week. But total sales and shipments already top USDA's forecast for the marketing year by 3% and 97% of that forecast has already been shipped. That increases the potential for USDA to raise its forecast in Friday's supply and demand report.
Wheat sales continue to languish, with uncompetitive prices on world markets compounded by the slow pace of harvest and concerns about quality. Sales of 2015 crop hard red winter wheat actually slipped by almost a million bushels due to cancellations, while the total for all classes was only 12.7 million bushels. Shipments of 9.9 million bushels were just half the rate needed every week for the rest of the marketing year in order to meet USDA's current forecast for the 2015 crop.