US corn shipments to China have been limited in the most recent weeks, though it does not mean that total US corn shipments have been dragging. The US exported 2.2 MMT of corn in the week ended March 11, representing the second highest for any week on record. Weekly US corn inspections have exceeded 2 MMT only four times since 1983, with two of these instances taking place during the current marketing year. In 2017 the US experienced their best March with export totaling 6.7 MMT. Projections have exports through to the 11th of this month already 30% higher than the comparable period four years ago. The USDA currently expects US corn exports to reach 66 MMT this year, a 6.6% increase.
Brazil’s late second crop planting may boost US sales even further. Japan and Mexico traditionally represent about half of US exports. Yet at the time of writing, they occupy only 35% of current sales, as Chinese purchases of 18.7 MMT so far have shrunken market shares of other importers.
At the beginning of the month US corn export sales were reported to have reached 90% of the USDA’s export target for the 2020/2021 marketing year, but supply for exports does not appear to be an issue, and the country has shipped less than 40% of the total so far.