As expected, U.S. soybean export sales and shipments have been very slow this spring, well below their seasonal averages. For the week of May 27, sales and shipments both notched new lows for the marketing year and saw their smallest volumes for the week in many years.
Reductions of orders for unknown destinations were over 72,000 MT last week, bringing 2020/21 reductions to date to 10.3 MMT vs. 5.4 MMT in all of 2019/20. We should not see high weekly reductions continue during June-August, however, because there are “only” 1.27 MMT of outstanding sales to unknown destinations remaining compared to the five-year average volume of 2.66 MMT.
But it’s also iffy whether we will see a surge in late-season shipments, which in past years was fueled by China’s return to U.S. beans. This year, as of May 27, China’s outstanding orders were just 697,031 MT, rather than 2.0 MMT or more we have seen at this point in recent years. Given the high price of U.S. soybeans, China may resist additional 2020/21 purchases and instead focus on building 2021/22 orders.
Weekly soybean export sales by season
Weekly soybean export shipments by season