Houston — US weekly corn export shipments for the 2020-21 marketing year (September-August) totaled 2.053 million mt in the week ended April 1, up 4% from 1.978 million mt in the previous week, Department of Agriculture data showed April 8.
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The weekly export shipments for the 2020-21 marketing year were up 6% from the prior four-week average, the USDA said in its Exports Sales Highlights report.
The main destinations of the shipments were China with 578,500 mt, Mexico with 473,600 mt, Japan with 366,100 mt, South Korea with 242,500 mt and Colombia with 120,400 mt.
Despite the strong exports, market participants remain concerned about the large amount of unshipped export sales, particularly on the amount marked to China.
Outstanding export sales of US corn -- product sold, but not yet shipped -- for the current marketing year totaled 30.512 million mt, 115% above the year-ago level and 93% above the five-year average, the USDA said.
China's outstanding export sales for the current marketing year were at 14.244 million mt, 47% of the total outstanding sales for all destinations.
China has bought 23.284 million mt of US corn, but just 9.040 million mt, or 39%, had been shipped by April 1. This does not consider the 3.771 million mt of US corn sold for export to unknown destinations, most of which market participants expect will end up in China.
US net export sales of corn for the 2020-21 marketing year (September-August) totaled 757,039 mt in the week ended April 1, down 5% from 797,278 mt in the previous week, and down 54% from the prior 4-weeks average, Department of Agriculture data showed.
Market expectations for net export sales were between 500,000 mt and 9000,000 mt for the current marketing year, sources said.
So far in the 2020-21 marketing year that began Sept. 1, total commitments -- cumulative exports plus outstanding sales -- have reached 66.483 million mt, up 97% year on year and 61% above the five-year average.
Total commitments have finally surpassed the USDA total export sales estimate of 66.043 million mt on its last World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report released March 9. Some market participants expect these export estimates could increase in the new WASDE report to be published April 9.
The outright price for S&P Global Platts corn CIF New Orleans in barges, for current-month shipment, rose 6.25 cents week on week to $6.3375/bushel on April 1, following CBOT May corn futures 7.25 cents higher week on week to $5.5975/bu.
The Platts corn CIF New Orleans basis in barges, for current-month shipment, was 1 cent lower week on week at 74 cents/bu above the CBOT May (K) contract.
The top buyers in the current marketing year include China at 23.284 million mt, Mexico at 12.776 million mt, Japan at 9.191 million mt, Colombia at 3.354 million mt, and South Korea at 2.653 million mt, the data showed.
The top corn buyers in the most recent week for deliveries in 2020-21 include Japan with 285,302 mt, South Korea with 247,642 mt, Colombia with 122,223, and China with 98,981 mt.
Since the start of the marketing year, 3.771 million mt of US corn has been committed for unknown destinations, including this week's cancelations, or switched to known destinations, for the previous export sales of 164,810 mt, USDA data showed.
Net sales are considered a more appropriate indicator of the strength of the corn market than physical exports as they reflect new sales.
Outstanding export sales are considered an indicator of the strength of the New Orleans CIF barge corn market.
Of total estimated US corn production for 2020-21, 18% is projected to be exported, and US corn total exports are estimated to be 34% of the total corn exported in the world.
Corn is the primary feedstock for ethanol production in the US and the main competitor for dried distillers grains in feed rations.