Slow export sales over the holidays aren't unusual. Most markets around the world close, even if they don't celebrate Christmas.
But a disappointing week of corn export business last week comes amid concerns over China's continued rejection of loads containing an unapproved GMO trait, a dispute that spread to DDGS as well.
USDA's weekly export sales report, delayed due to New Years, confirmed rejection of another 7.8 million bushels, bringing the total turned back to around 25 million. All the shipments were diverted to other countries that already allow the train.
Still unknown is whether those new destinations will wind up buying more corn than previous expectations, or whether the shifts are merely displacing purchases planned later. China previously accepted delivery of 119.3 million bushels, with another 84.8 million bushels still on the books. USDA projects total Chinese corn imports at 275 million bushels from all originations during the 2013 crop marketing year.
Total weekly sales of corn dropped to 6.9 million bushels in the latest week, both old crop and new, down from the 58.2 million done the previous week. Total commitments are still running well above the usual rate, which suggests USDA may be too low on its forecast for the marketing year, though the China uncertainty may keep any revisions in check from the Jan. 10 government supply and demand reports.
Wheat sales were also disappointing last week, totaling just 9.4 million bushels. Asian and Latin American buyers led the list of customers, though year-to-date sales remain good.
Soybean sales bucked the holiday trend, coming in at a strong 43.4 million bushels, including 34.7 million old crop. Total sales and shipments to date already exceed USDA's current forecast for the entire marketing year, with China still the leading buyer.