Darrel Good's comments came as he
reviewed the pace of corn and soybean exports at the end of the
marketing year's first quarter.
For the 2004-05 marketing year, the
USDA currently projects corn exports at 2.05 billion bushels, 8
percent more than exported last year and the largest marketing-year
shipments since 1995-96. Corn exports have exceeded 2 billion
bushels in only seven years, Good noted.
"Since 1996-97, annual exports have
averaged 1.818 billion bushels, in a range of 1.504 to 1.981
billion," he said. "The projected increase in U.S. corn exports for
the current year is based primarily on prospects of reduced
competition from China. The decline in the value of the U.S. dollar
may also be a positive factor for exports, but higher freight rates
have offset some of that benefit."
Three sources of export data are
available: the USDA's weekly grain inspections report, the USDA's
weekly export sales report and the Census Bureau's monthly estimate
of exports, which is the official estimate used in USDA balance
"Export inspection data is available
through Dec. 2, 2004, which represents the first 13.3 weeks of the
2004-05 marketing year," said Good. "The data for the week ended
Dec. 2 are subject to revision, but inspections for the first
quarter of the year are currently estimated at 466.3 million
bushels, 2.6 percent less than cumulative shipments of a year ago.
Shipments have averaged 35.1 million bushels per week during the
first quarter of the year and need to average 40.9 million per week
from now through Aug. 31, 2005, to reach the USDA projection for the
Export data from the export sales
report is available through Nov. 25, 2004. That report shows
cumulative corn exports of 436 million bushels, 12.2 million more
than indicated in the inspections report, and 2.5 percent less than
indicated in this report last year. Based on this report, shipments
have averaged 34.1 million bushels per week so far this year and
need to average 41.1 million per week from now through August in
order to reach the USDA projection.
"Census Bureau export data are
available only for September 2004, the first month of the 2004-05
marketing year," said Good. "That report showed corn exports of
161.4 million bushels, 18.8 million more than indicated in the
inspections report and 11.1 million more than indicated in the
export sales report.
"All three reports indicate that the
pace of corn exports is a bit slow in relation to the USDA
projections for the year. Of the major buyers -- Japan, Taiwan,
South Korea, Egypt and Mexico -- all but Japan are on a slower
import pace than that of last year."
Unshipped U.S. corn export sales as
of Nov. 25 totaled 351.1 million bushels, compared with 406 million
bushels on the same date last year. Japan, Taiwan and Egypt all had
smaller outstanding purchases than on the same date last year. New
sales need to average about 32 million bushels per week to reach the
USDA's marketing-year projection for corn exports, said Good.
[to top of second column in
For the 2004-05 marketing year, the
USDA projects U.S. soybean exports at 1.01 billion bushels, 14
percent more than the small exports of a year ago. Exports exceeded
1 billion bushels in 2001-02 and 2002-03. For the week ended Dec. 2,
2004, cumulative U.S. soybean export inspections since Sept. 1
totaled 401.8 million bushels, 2.5 percent more than cumulative
exports of a year ago.
Data from the export sales report
through Nov. 25 indicated cumulative export shipments of 361.3
million bushels, 6 million less than indicated by the inspections
report and 2.6 percent more than exported a year ago. Cumulative
shipments to China are up 31 percent, and shipments to all other
destinations are down 17 percent.
"The Census Bureau export estimate
for September 2004 was 47.2 million bushels, 2.8 million more than
indicated by inspection and 3.5 million more than indicated in the
export sales report," said Good. "At least through the first month
of the year, the three sources of soybean export data are more
consistent than in most years, particularly last year."
Unshipped export sales of U.S.
soybeans as of Nov. 25 totaled 231 million bushels, compared with
345 million on the same date last year.
"Both China and Mexico have smaller
outstanding purchases than a year ago," said Good. "While export
shipments are on a fast pace, unshipped sales are lagging a bit.
Importers may be a little more patient than last year due to the
huge U.S. supply and a large expected increase in South American
"The post-harvest price strength
defies the prospects of large surpluses, contributing to buyers'
reluctance to be too aggressive."
of Illinois news release]