If it's always darkest before the dawn, there may be hope for the corn export market after all.
USDA's weekly sales tally released this morning totaled just 5.1 million bushels for old crop corn, by far a marketing year low. But the agency today separately also confirmed the sale of 4.725 million bushels to China under its daily reporting system for large purchases, along with a like amount of new crop to unknown destinations. While trade rumors said six cargoes, or 12 to 14 million bushels, were done to China, today's news could be enough to stem some of the hemorrhaging in the market ahead of Friday's big grain stocks and planting intentions reports.
Rumors of additional interest by Chinese feed makers surfaced overnight, in part because corn prices in China are trading near record highs.
While sales of corn are running ahead of the pace forecast by USDA for the marketing year, shipments remain sluggish. This week's total, 25.4 million bushels, was almost 12 million below the rate forecast by USDA through the end of the marketing year Aug. 31. Unless the pace picks up, USDA's current forecast for just 1.7 billion bushels in exports could be on target.
USDA today also confirmed the sale of another 4.4 million bushels of old crop soybeans to China, the second such sale this week. Total sales for the week were 21.8 million bushels, including new crop, but China's deals made up just 45% of the old crop total. Traders are counting on strong late season sales to China after the short crop this year in South America.
Wheat sales of 14.8 million bushels got a boost from fairly active new crop totals. Otherwise, the new crop number was the second lowest of the marketing year. Most customers continue to take just single cargoes, suggesting scale down buying as end users don't anticipate any shortages in the year ahead.
For the complete export report, click here.