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U.S. Secures Record Corn Export Orders, But Shipments Not Keeping Pace

The U.S. has secured record corn export orders, however, shipments are not expected to match current government forecasts due to an exceedingly slow pace.

The latest corn export estimates from the USDA for the 2020/21 year ending this month topped 72.4 million tons, or 2.85 billion bushels. But only 66 million tons have shipped through the end of July, meaning that the month of August would have to see exports totaling 6 million tons - which would set a new record.

To ship out all current sales by August 31, the U.S. would need to ship more than 800,000 tons of corn per week, however, weekly sales data through July 29 implies that that number would have to be closer to 1.5 million tons per week. Unshipped corn bookings to China (which hasn’t placed any new-crop orders since May) are prevalent, and Brazil’s corn crop continues to falter, which usually re-directs buyers to the U.S. (something that hasn’t quite happened as expected). These two factors along with high U.S. prices and rising freight costs, along with a sneaking suspicion that global corn demand may not be as strong as was once thought, could all play into adjustments to the U.S.’s high export expectations for 2020/21.

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