Mexico has booked more than a million metric tons of corn in two separate weeks this season, but even so, average weekly orders, at 340,400 MT, remained 10 percent below the same period last season. On the other hand, South Korea has yet to buy significant volumes, and Japan’s total commitments are 40 percent behind last season’s volume to date.
With data for the first 15 weeks of 2019/20, corn export commitments reveal a notable deficit to overcome to hit USDA’s export projection. As of Dec. 12, total commitments were just 17.20 MMT, 38 percent of the forecast. In past years, commitments have been closer to 60 percent by this point in the season. Usually, when commitments are so far below the season forecast, USDA lowers the estimate, which raises the commitment level.
Last year, mid-December commitments were just over 40 percent of the eventual total due in part to the trade dispute with Mexico in summer 2018 disrupting corn purchases for the new crop. Mexico eventually imported more corn in 2018/19 than in the previous season, but other countries, such as destinations in Asia and the Middle East, pulled back sharply on purchases.
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