According to USDA’s Dec. 10, Federal Grain Inspection Service report, total soybean export inspections are at 521 million bushels, down 42 percent from 2017/18 marketing year inspections, representing a 374-million-bushel decline. For the 14th week in the marketing year, U.S. soybean export inspections, at 34 million bushels, are down 12 million bushels from the same time last year. Additionally, this week’s export inspections hit a nine week low. Due to the decline in total exports and adverse growing conditions, analysts project that tomorrow’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report will reveal lower total soybean export projections. Figure 1 illustrates the weekly soybean export inspections for the week of Dec. 10, 2018.
Exports to China, historically the largest customer of U.S. soybeans, have remained unchanged from last week, at a total of 14 million bushels, with no inspections for the past seven weeks. U.S. soybean exports to China are down 98 percent from this time last year with a 608-million-bushel deficit. Figure 2 represents the weekly inspection of soybean exports to China. However, with soybean export inspections drastically reduced to China, U.S. soybean exports to other countries are up 85 percent. The No. 1 customer of U.S. soybeans at this point in the marketing year is Argentina, which has bought 58 million bushels.
For the first 14 weeks of the marketing year, total corn export inspections, at 595 million bushels, are up by 253 million bushels from last year. With record-high corn export volumes projected for marketing year 2018/19, the week-over-week outlook continues to look strong, up 6 million bushels from the same time last year. Mexico remains our largest customer, with 157 million bushels inspected so far, a 10-percent increase from last year. South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Egypt have all substantially increased volumes of U.S. corn inspections, with 176 additional bushels inspected over last year’s volumes from those countries alone. Figure 3 outlines the weekly corn export inspections for the week of Dec. 10, 2018.