US soybean export sales to China fall to near zero amid trade talk

29 Mar 2018 | Andy Allan

US net export sales to the world’s biggest buyer of soybeans fell to a nine-month low in the week ending March 22, according to USDA data released Thursday, as Chinese buyers stayed away amid a US-China trade spat.

Total US net export sales of beans reached just 317,500 mt for the current marketing year, well below trade expectations of between 600,000-900,000 mt.

The figures were down 58% on the week, 77% on the four-week average and hit a two-month low.

But it was the figure to China that grabbed attention, with just 11,052 mt sold to the world’s biggest importer in the current marketing year and 69,700 mt from next year’s crop, which, excluding cancellations, amounts to the lowest figure since June last year.

The figures come amid reports that Chinese buyers are steering clear of buying US product until it becomes apparent that China will not place an import tariff on soybeans.

Instead of China, the Netherlands, Indonesia and Pakistan were the top buyers.

In terms of corn, sales of 1.35 million mt for 2017/18 were down 8% from the previous week and 28% from the prior four-week average.

The figures were bang in the middle of trade expectations of between 1.2-1.5 million mt.

Increases were reported for South Korea (623,100 mt, including 255,000 mt switched from unknown destinations and decreases of 68,300 mt), Mexico (208,000 mt, including decreases of 64,600 mt) and Japan (183,400 mt, including 36,000 mt switched from unknown destinations and decreases of 4,700 mt).

Peru and Colombia were the other big destinations.

Meanwhile, net sales of wheat of 353,800 mt for delivery in marketing year 2017/18 were up 33% from the previous week and 40% from the prior four-week average.

Japan, Nigeria and Indonesia were the biggest takers.