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Weekly Update on Export Inspections

Market Intel / December 18, 2018

USDA’s Dec. 17 Federal Grain Inspection Service report revealed soybean exports remain 42 percent lower than at this point in the previous marketing year, pushed down by the 98 percent drop in soybean export inspections to China. Corn exports inspections through the week ending Dec. 13 are up 72 percent.


Pace of Soybean Exports

Through the week ending Dec. 13, soybean export inspections are up 3.3 million bushels from last week at 37.4 million bushels. Year-to-date soybean export inspections total 559 million bushels, down 42 percent, or 402 million bushels, from prior marketing-year levels. Figure 1 illustrates the weekly soybean export inspections through the week ending Dec. 13.

Currently, the top markets for U.S. soybeans are Argentina, Spain and the Netherlands with 61 million, 57 million and 54 million bushels inspected for export to those countries, respectively. Importing a total of only 7 million bushels over the last four marketing years, Argentina has not previously been a major destination for U.S. soybeans. This year, Argentina’s short crop and the slowdown in the Chinese market have driven year-to-date U.S. soybean exports to Argentina up to 61 million bushels. In fact, so far during the 2018/19 marketing year, U.S. soybean exports to 15 countries have exceeded total annual export volumes experienced during the entire 2017/18 marketing year, Figure 2. 

After 15 weeks of the marketing year, U.S. soybean export inspections to China total 14 million bushels, a 650-million-bushel, or 98-percent, decrease, from the previous year. With low volume and sporadic soybean export inspections going into China there were zero inspections for the week ending Dec. 13. Averaging the previous two marketing years, about 45 million bushels have historically been inspected this week. Figure 2 represents the weekly inspection of soybean exports to China.

Pace of Corn Exports

At 34.8 million bushels, current weekly corn exports are up slightly from last week and remain significantly higher than last year’s 25 million bushels exported by this point in the marketing year. Total corn export inspections, at 630 million bushels, are up 263 million bushels. The cumulative totals for marketing year 2018/19 continue to trend 72 percent higher than the previous year. Weekly corn export inspections to Mexico remain steady at 11.6 million bushels, representing a cumulative total to Mexico of 168 million bushels. The second largest destination for U.S. corn is currently Japan, up nearly 4 million bushels, or 50 percent, from last week for a total of 144 million bushels.  Figure 3 outlines the cumulative weekly corn export inspections through the week ending Dec. 13.

Megan Nelson
Economic Analyst
(202) 406-3629

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Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture / CC BY 2.0 

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