Corn Export Sales Surprise

USDA recently reported surprisingly strong corn export sales of 49.9 million bushels for the week ending April 26. Active Japanese buying helped push sales commitments to nearly double the high end of trade expectations.

The weekly corn sales total was also about double the average sales reported the previous four weeks. Japan was the leading buyer for the week, taking over 17 million bushels of U.S. corn. South Korea and Taiwan were also featured buyers.

It remains doubtful that exports will reach USDA's target of 1.95 billion bushels for the marketing year. Corn export sales for 2000-2001 are still running about 9.5% behind a year earlier with USDA still forecasting a slight increase in export shipments.

Weekly soybean sales, meanwhile, were solid, coming in near the high end of expectations. But wheat sales were at the low end of expectations and were very poor.

USDA pegged weekly soybean export sales at 10.7 million bushels, versus trade expectations for 4 million to 11 million. For the marketing year to date, soybean export commitments are still running over 8.5% ahead of a year earlier.

USDA pegged weekly wheat sales at only 7.9 million bushels, including sales of 1.1 million bushels for the 2001-2002 marketing year.

With the 2000-2001 marketing year winding down, the slow advance sales for the new marketing year are becoming more of a concern to the futures trade. Advance commitments for 2001-2002 are running slower than the past three years, which were all weak export years.

Editors' note: Richard Brock, Soybean Digest's Marketing Editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.

To see more market perspectives, visit Brock's Web site at www.brockreport.com.