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US total corn net export sales fall 16% on week to 333,006 mt

Houston — US net export sales of corn for both old crop and new crop for the current and next marketing year totaled 333,006 mt in the week ended July 11, down 16% from the previous week, Department of Agriculture data showed Thursday.

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Of that total, 200,009 mt were for the current 2018-19 marketing year or the old crop, and 132,997 mt were for the next 2019-20 marketing year, or the new crop, the weekly export sales report data showed.

Market expectations for the net export sales total were between 350,000 mt and 800,000 mt, sources said. Expectations were for between 250,000 mt and 500,000 mt for the 2018-19 marketing year, and between 100,000 and 300,000 mt for 2017-18 marketing year.

The weekly US corn export net sale for the current 2018-19 marketing year "were down 60 percent from the previous week and 21 percent from the prior 4-week average," the USDA said

Since the 2018-19 marketing year began on September 1, total commitments -- cumulative exports plus outstanding sales - have reached 49.621 million mt, down 16% year on year and 3.8% below the five-year average. That total was up to 93% of the USDA's 53.343 million mt recently updated projection for the 2018-19 marketing year.

USDA's export projection in its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report was cut from the 55.883 million mt level July 11, having been cut monthly since it was 62.233 million mt on April 9. USDA said has been cutting its projection based on reduced US price competitiveness and current outstanding sales.

Outstanding export sales of US corn - product sold but not yet shipped - for the current marketing year through the most recent week totaled 4.913 million mt, 55% below the total at the same point last year and 44% below the five-year average, the USDA said.

The outright Platts corn CIF New Orleans in barges prices, for front-month delivery, rose 15.5 cents to $5.0225/bu in the period of July 3-11, while CBOT front-month corn futures rose 14.75 cents to $4.4775/bu. Despite the weak export demand, domestic demand, mostly in the east part of the Corn Belt, supported prices, sources said.

The top corn buyers in the most recent week for deliveries in the current marketing year were Japan with 144,326 mt, Jamaica with 18,500 and Canada with 14,317 mt.

The top buyers in the current marketing year have been Mexico at 15.277 million mt, Japan at 12.530 million mt, Colombia at 4.637 million mt and South Korea at 3.697 million mt, the data showed.

Since the beginning of the marketing year, 598,520 mt of US corn has been committed for unknown destinations, including this week's sales for 31,233 mt, USDA data showed.

Net sales are considered a more appropriate indicator of the strength of the corn market than physical exports, because they reflect new sales.

The outstanding export sales are considered an indicator of the strength of the New Orleans CIF barges corn market.

Corn is the primary feedstock for ethanol production in the US and is the main competitor for dried distillers grains.

-- Sergio Alvarado, sergio.alvarado@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Derek Sands, newsdesk@spglobal.com