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Corn, soybean export sales raise concern

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Thursday released its weekly Export Sales Report. Zaner Ag Hedge market strategist Brian Grossman says findings were “relatively decent.” However, there are some “trouble spots.”

“The biggest trouble spot is corn. Sales came in at 537,000, (which) is a disappointing number. (As for) shipments, 1.2 million metric tonnes is a big number, but we need to be seeing more than that. That continues to be competition coming from a much cheaper South America,” Grossman said. “Soybeans – China being a big show. One-point-nine-seven million metric tonnes. Unfortunately, (only) 765,000 beans (were) shipped. Overall, soy meal was disappointing, (coming in at) 19,000. Oddly, soyoil (was) strong, at 37,000.”

Thursday’s Export Sales Report was a “mixed bag,” especially when adding wheat sales to the equation. The report indicated sales of 700,000 metric tonnes for 2018/2019 delivery and 300,000 metric tonnes for 2019/2020 delivery, which is rare event for this market.

The lack of shipments brings added concern to fair export sales.

“The thing we need to be aware of in soybeans is we have an oddly high amount of outstanding sales,” Grossman said. “If you look at our tally for sales, it doesn’t seem all  bad. But shipments is where we’re being hurt most. Unfortunately, we have China accounting for over 50-percent of those sales at a time (when) there’s a fresh Brazilian crop getting to port.”

Rumors of a U.S./China trade deal continue to circulate. Grossman cannot confirm if such rumors hold any truth to them, but suggests producers “air on the side of caution.”

“There has been positive news floating around that a trade deal may be in the works. Anything could happen, so definitely take into consideration that it might not have and leave a lot of soybeans on the balance sheet,” Grossman said.