Traders were expecting USDA's weekly sales totals to be big, and they weren't disappointed. This morning's report was even better than anticipated for soybeans, while the corn numbers were a 20-year high.
USDA had already confirmed many of the sales aggregated today under its daily reporting system for large purchases. Nonetheless, the numbers were jaw-dropping.
Total old and new crop soybean sales came in at 63.7 million bushels, well above trade guesses. While new crop sales led the list as expected, old crop bookings at 22 million bushels were nothing to sneeze at this late in the marketing year. Shipments also were decent at 16 million bushels, doubling the rate needed the rest of the marketing year to reach USDA's forecast, and increasing the potential for the agency to up its estimate in next week's monthly crop report. The government's first official take on 2012 business should also be strong, because preseason sales continue to run at a record pace.
China, and unknown destinations assumed mostly to be bound for the world's largest country, dominated the list of buyers. Next week's totals should also be strong. USDA announced another sale to China today under its daily reporting system, bringing the four-day total this week alone to 27.1 million bushels.
Eye-popping corn sales totaled 136.7 million bushels, a total anticipated by the trade due to previously confirmed deals. While new crop sales dominated – they're now running at a record pace too – the old crop total came in at 49 million bushels. Unknown destinations, assumed to be China, led the list of buyers, suggesting USDA may still be too low in its 2011 crop forecast.
Still, exporters have been slow to move previous purchases. Shipments came in at 26.2 million bushels, well below the weekly rate needed through the end of August to meet USDA's forecast. With CIF basis at the Gulf already running 92 over July, originating shipments is obviously becoming more difficult.
Wheat sales of 26.1 million bushels were in line with trade guesses, but only 9.4 million bushels of the total were designated for old crop delivery. Shipments of almost 23 million were below USDA's forecast, which needs to top 30 million bushels weekly for the rest of May. Mexico was the biggest buyer of new crop, taking 7.9 million bushels.