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WEEKLY GRAIN MOVEMENT: Export shipments stay brisk

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Low crop prices and plentiful supplies kept movement in the export pipeline brisk last week. Foreign customers continue to ship out previous sales — a good signal that cancellations may not be an issue as the marketing years for corn and soybeans wind down.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported 29.8 million bu. of corn inspected last week — down from the previous week and just below the low end of trade estimates. Nonetheless, year-to-date inspections remain well above USDA’s forecast for the crop year, suggesting that the agency may still be too low on its projection. Still, no change is likely until data on Sept. 1 stocks and census export data are reviewed for the October supply and demand report.

As trade negotiators in North America put out their opening positions in talks to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement, the importance of the U.S.’s neighbors was easy to spot. Mexico was again the leading destination for U.S. corn sales, taking 11 million bu. — nearly four times more than second-place Peru, which bought 3.3 million bu.

Soybeans and wheat were also bound for south of the border. Mexico took 2.5 million bu. of wheat and 4.5 million bu. of soybeans.

Despite talk of over-purchasing by importers, China’s buyers continued to take shipments of previous purchases. That accounted for around half this week’s total of 20.9 million bu., with Mexico in second place.

Year-to-date soybean inspections are still ahead of the increase forecasted by USDA, even though the agency raised its outlook for the 2016 crop by 30 million bu. last week.

The wheat business remains solid, although not spectacular. Inspections of 18.8 million bu. were down from the previous week but still were ahead of the rate the government projected for the marketing year. Year-to-date inspections are around 13% of that rate so far. Japan was the top destination, buying 6 million bu., and the Philippines was second at 3.5 million bu. Smaller buyers in the Americas continue to take a smattering each week.

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