October 17, 2011


US corn export sales reach three-month high



According to the USDA data released Friday (Oct 14), lowest prices of the year increased importers' purchases and resulted in US corn export sales to hit a three-month high last week.


Sales this week were likely even stronger, buoyed by a mammoth 900,000-tonne sale to emerging importer China, which seized upon a nearly 25% drop in corn prices from August highs to book its biggest purchase on months. That data will be released by USDA Thursday (Oct 20).


"The big break in prices brought more people to the table. With the ongoing supply concerns people do want to get things locked in," said an analyst.


"Farmers are being very tight-fisted about selling. That creates a potentially bullish scenario so folks were quite aggressive in getting some coverage on here at the lower prices," the analyst said.


Net sales in the week ended October 6 totalled more than 1.34 million tonnes, most of it for shipment in the current marketing year which began on September 1, up 4% from the prior week and up 14% from the same week last year.


The sales topped trade estimates for 800,000-950,000 tonnes.


Nearly 80% of the week's sales were to Japan, Mexico and South Korea, the top three importers of US corn, as they had delayed many of their needed purchases when prices were soaring throughout the summer.


Top corn importer Japan bought 488,000 tonnes for shipment in the current marketing year and 110,400 tonnes for 2012/13, that country's largest weekly purchase since August 2010.


Corn prices fell below US$6 a bushel last week for the first time since January after a month-long, 25% plunge from August peaks on harvest pressure, slowing demand, and amid a mass exodus of managed money from grain markets.


Chinese purchases last week totalled 122,800 tonnes, all of it switched from previously reported sales to unknown destinations.


China this week made one of its largest-ever corn purchases, booking at least 900,000 tonnes from the US as part of a deal to buy about 1.5 million tonnes of US and possibly Argentine corn.

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