Farm and Field

Corn, soybean export outlook uncertain

Posted: Jul. 29, 2018 12:01 am

Escalating trade issues between the U.S. and many of its trading partners continue to affect the outlook in both corn and soybean markets.

Drastic price declines since Memorial Day show the impact of trade uncertainty and yield potential.

"The prospect of large yields combined with trade issues set the baseline for determining export potential and price formation in both corn and soybean markets moving forward," University of Illinois agricultural economist Todd Hubbs said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture soybean export projection for the current marketing year totals 2.085 billion bushels, up 20 million bushels from last month. Census Bureau export estimates through May place soybean exports at 1.762 billion bushels. Census Bureau export totals came in 42 million bushels large than cumulative marketing-year export inspections over the same period.

As of July 12, cumulative export inspections for the current marketing year totaled 1.873 billion bushels. Hubbs said that if the same difference in export pace continued through the current period, soybean exports would have totaled 1.915 billion bushels as of July 12. For the remainder of the current marketing year, 24.2 million bushels of soybean exports are required each week to meet the USDA projection.

"Adjustments to 2018-19 marketing year trade numbers in the latest USDA forecasts present a bearish picture for soybean exports," Hubbs said. "A reduction of 250 million bushels, to 2.04 billion bushels, from last month's soybean export forecast is not a surprise given the current trade environment."

Barring a resolution to current trade issues, soybean exports next marketing year will struggle despite the low prices currently in place.

"The prospect of record corn yields and the uncertainty surrounding trade continue place pressure on corn prices," Hubbs said. "At 2.4 billion bushels, the USDA estimate for corn exports during the current marketing year appears somewhat optimistic given cumulative exports to date and unshipped sales," Hubbs said. "While corn exports may fall short of the current estimate, the blistering export pace in the second half of this marketing year looks set to continue into the fall."

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