Fundamentally Speaking

Current Sales Pace for Corn

Joel Karlin
By  Joel Karlin , DTN Contributing Analyst

In an earlier piece, we noted how the USDA's 2018/19 soybean export forecast of 1.875 billion bushels (bb) looks very overstated given the current pace of soybean sales as of the middle of February.

Less talked about is how our corn sales are struggling to meet a record forecast from USDA of 2.450 bb as given in the February 2019 WASDE report, unchanged from the December 2018 estimate.

This graphic shows U.S. corn sales and shipments as of the third week of February going back to the 1990-91 season in million bushels plotted on the left hand axis while on the right hand axis are those sales and shipment figures as a percent of the USDA's February WASDE estimate.

Current sales total 1.557 bb which, next to the 1.708 bb sold in the 2016/17 season and the 1.969 bb sold in the 2007/08 season, are the highest ever export figures as of the third week of February.

Total shipments this year are 1.007 bb which is the highest amount since 1.234 bb were shipped also in the 2007/08 season.

As a percentage of the February WASDE, the sales figure is less impressive as the 1.557 bb is only 63.5% of the 2.450 bb export projection and this is essentially the slowest sales pace in ten years and below the ten-year average of 70.7% sold as of this point in the marketing season.

The shipment total of 1.007 bb is more in line at 41.1% of the February 2019 WASDE projection and above the 40.0% average.

Should this pace continue, the USDA may be forced to lower this year's export forecast in subsequent WASDE reports though there are a lot of factors in play, including talk of possible U.S. corn sales to China and the makings of a record South American corn harvest that could weigh on our export sales the second half of the marketing year (March-August 2019).



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