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China books 1.16 mil mt of US corn, first big flash sale in weeks

Highlights

China's commitments for US corn now at record 19.89 mil mt

Exports to China hit 7.41 mil mt

New Delhi — Chinese buyers booked 1.16 million mt of US corn for delivery in the 2020-21 marketing season, the first such large daily flash sale reported since January, the US Department of Agriculture said March 16.

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This takes China's total commitments for US corn to a record 19.89 million mt in 2020-21. The US corn 2020-21 marketing year started in September 2020 and will run through August 2021.

Of the total commitments, China has so far shipped in 7.41 million mt, also a record. The last time China bought US corn in such quantities was in 2012-13 when US corn shipments to China hit 5.15 million mt, according to USDA data.

USDA reports export sales data on a weekly basis, while daily flash sales are only reported when sales of a commodity cross a specific threshold. For corn, export activity must be reported if daily sales are above 100,000 mt.

The last such large daily sales of US corn were reported Jan. 29, when China booked 2.11 million mt of corn. The sales followed just after a day when exporters reported corn sales of 1.7 million mt to China.

The US corn export shipment program has remained steady, but grain markets were looking for more large sales for direction after lackluster sales to China seen in recent weeks.

US corn inspections for global destinations hit 2.20 million mt in the week to March 11, the largest since 1989, according to the USDA.

Meanwhile, markets have been largely focusing on the weather in South America as various analysts report record production numbers in the midst of growing concerns around low yields. Corn crop conditions have dropped in Argentina, while planting of the second corn crop in Brazil has been delayed.