U.S. corn exports reached an all-time high of 7.7 million tons in the month of April. Through May, year-to-date corn shipments were estimated at 29 million metric tons. USDA projections for exports in the 2017/18 crop marketing year (September through August) were raised to 58.4 million metric tons.
The previous monthly record for corn exports was set nearly 30 years ago, back in November of 1989. The projections for May exports, based on export inspections, are higher than usual at this time of year, suggesting continued strength in the U.S. corn export market.
At least some of the reason may be due to a continuing drought in Argentina, a major corn supplier, which likely means reduced exports prospects there. In addition, Brazil is expected to have a poor corn crop this year, due in part to dry weather and less planted acreage for the second cropping season. As a result, countries in the market for corn have fewer options to choose from, which increases the competitiveness of U.S. corn.