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US corn net export sales drop 11% on week to 487,944 mt: USDA

Houston — US net export sales of corn for the 2019-20 marketing year totaled 487,944 mt in the week that ended October 31, down 11% from the previous week, according to Department of Agriculture data released Thursday.

Market expectations for net export sales were between 300,000 mt and 650,000 mt, sources said.

The total was up 15% from the prior four-week average, the USDA said in its Exports Sales Highlights.

Since the 2019-20 marketing year began September 1, total commitments -- cumulative exports plus outstanding sales -- have reached 11.893 million mt, down 47% year on year and 40% below the five-year average. That total was up to 25% of the USDA's 48.263 million mt export sales projected for the 2019-20 marketing year.

Exports sales within the expected range were supportive news for corn, but the slow pace of exports remained weak, which could move the US Department of Agriculture to lower its export sales estimates, which was bearish for corn, sources said.

Outstanding export sales of US corn -- product sold but not yet shipped -- for the current marketing year totaled 7.954 million mt, 33% below the year-ago level and 36% below the five-year average, the USDA said.

The outright price for S&P Global Platts corn CIF New Orleans in barges, for current-month shipment, rose 10.75 cents week on week to $4.44/bu on October 31, while CBOT December corn futures rose 3.25 cents to $3.90/bu.

The Platts corn CIF New Orleans basis in barges value for current-month shipment was 7.5 cents higher at 54 cents/bu in the latest reporting period, supported by a slow harvest pace.

The top buyers in the current marketing year include Mexico, 6.296 million mt; Japan, 1.612 million mt; Colombia, 578,284 mt; and Guatemala, 398,523 mt, the data showed.

The top corn buyers in the most recent week for deliveries included Mexico, 186,858 mt; Dominican Republic, 15,500 mt; and Japan, 14,597 mt.

Since the start of the marketing year, 1.053 million mt of US corn has been committed for unknown destinations, including this week's sales of 227,676 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 barge corn market.

Of total US corn production 2019-20 estimates, 13.8% is projected to be exported.

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

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

--Edited by Debiprasad Nayak, debiprasad.nayak@spglobal.com