Fundamentally Speaking

Sluggish Wheat Export Shipment Pace

Joel Karlin
By  Joel Karlin , DTN Contributing Analyst
Chart by Joel Karlin, DTN Contributing Analyst

Even with USDA keeping our wheat export sales projection at 700 million bushels (mb), which is the smallest figure in 52 years, there remains some question as to whether even that extremely low projection can be attained.

U.S. wheat export sales continue to lag even with prices among the lowest in years as Russia remains extremely competitive in the world markets.

There was some soft red wheat business transacted with China a few weeks ago spurring hopes that our trade fortunes may have changed but not much since.

This graphic shows U.S. wheat export sales and shipments in million bushels on the left-hand axis as of the first week of November while those figures as a percent of the USDA's November WASDE export projections are reported on the right-hand axis.

We also show the amount of U.S. wheat shipped as a percent of the amount of wheat sold as of the first week of November in the green rectangles.

As expected, the 430.4 mb sold and 255.4 mb of U.S. wheat shipped as of the first week of November are the lowest figures going back to the 2000/01 marketing year where our study begins and probably well beyond that.

We should note that the 430.4 mb sold as of the first week of November is 61.5% of the USDA's 700 mb projection, and that is the second highest percent for this time of the marketing year since the 2017/18 year and above the 25-year average of 60.5%.

The 255.4 mb shipped is however just 36.5% of that total, and well below the 41.9% average and is the third lowest percent in the past 20 years, trailing only the 2018/19 season when final exports proved to be 8.7% below the November WASDE estimate and back in the 2012/13 marketing year when final exports came in 8.0% below that year's November WASDE projection.

The final note is so far this season, only 59.4% of what's been sold has been shipped, the lowest percentage going back to 2000/01.

So even though the sales pace is in line to attain the 700 mb export projection which is already the lowest since 1971/72, wheat shipments are lagging suggesting the current USDA export projection may come down in subsequent WASDE reports.


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