Moving Grain: Soybean Inspections, Ethanol Exports Increase

NGFA, STC, and USDA to Hold Agricultural Transportation Summit

On July 25-26, the National Grain and Feed Association, Soy Transportation Coalition, and USDA will hold an agricultural transportation summit in Arlington, VA. The summit will focus on the importance of inland waterway, rail, truck, and vessel transportation to the competitiveness and profitability of U.S. agriculture.

Summit speakers will include leaders from agricultural producer organizations, agribusinesses, and government; including Ann Begeman, Chairman of the Surface Transportation Board, and R.D. James, Assistant Secretary for the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Following the conclusion of the summit, USDA,Washington State University, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension will host an “Agricultural Transportation Infrastructure Workshop” on the afternoon of July 26.

For more information, see here.

Soybean Inspections Continue to Increase

For the week ending May 17, total inspections of grain (corn, wheat, and soybeans) for export from all major U.S. export regions reached 2.7 million metric tons (mmt); unchanged from the previous week, up 23 percent from last year, and 42 percent above the 3-year average. Soybean inspections were up 25 percent from the previous week and were 166 percent above the 3-year average.

Demand for U.S. soybeans remained strong from Asia. Inspections of wheat and corn, however, were down 27 and 3 percent from the previous week. Grain inspections in the Pacific (PNW) increased 16 percent from the past week, but dropped 16 percent in the Mississippi Gulf. Current outstanding (unshipped) export sales are down for corn, wheat, and soybeans.

U.S. Ethanol Exports Year to Date Above 2016/17

For the 2017/18 marketing year, U.S. year-to-date exports of corn-based ethanol reached approximately 982 million gallons, up 16 percent from the past year, according to the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Although Brazil imposed a 20 percent tariff (40 million gallons per quarter) on imports of U.S. ethanol at the beginning of the marketing year, it has not affected demand as expected.

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In fact, Brazil continued as the top importer of U.S. ethanol, with 348 million gallons, up 13 percent from last year. U.S. exports of ethanol to China, currently the fourth largest importer of U.S. ethanol, reached 77 million gallons, up 57 percent compared to last year. Year-to-date exports of ethanol to Europe and South Korea are also up compared to the same time last year.

Snapshots by Sector

Export Sales

For the week ending May 10, unshipped balances of wheat, corn, and soybeans totaled 31.4 mmt, up 33 percent from the same time last year. Net weekly wheat export sales were .063 mmt, up 80 percent from the previous week. Net corn export sales were .986 mmt, up 42 percent from the previous week. Net soybean export sales totaled .282 mmt, down 20 percent from the previous week.

Rail

U.S. Class I railroads originated 24,217 grain carloads for the week ending May 12, down 4 percent from the previous week, up 4 percent from last year, and up 22 percent from the 3-year average.

Average June shuttle secondary railcar bids/offers per car were $266 above tariff for the week ending May 17, up $53 from last week, and $228 higher than last year. Average non-shuttle secondary railcar bids/offers per car were $338 above tariff, down $100 from last week, and $338 higher than last year.

Barge

For the week ending May 19, barge grain movements totaled 915,058 tons, 10 percent higher than the previous week and up 39 percent from the same period last year.

For the week ending May 19, 567 grain barges moved down river, 41 barges more than the previous week. There were 697 grain barges unloaded in New Orleans, 8 percent lower than the previous week.

Ocean

For the week ending May 17, 32 ocean-going grain vessels were loaded in the Gulf, 3 percent less than the same period last year. Forty-three vessels are expected to be loaded within the next 10 days, 16 percent less than the same period last year.

For the week ending May 17, the ocean freight rate for shipping bulk grain from the Gulf to Japan was $44.00 per metric ton, unchanged from the previous week. The cost of shipping from the PNW to Japan was $24.50 per metric ton, unchanged from the previous week.

Fuel

For the week ending May 21, the U.S. average diesel fuel price increased 4 cents from the previous week to $3.28 per gallon, 74 cents higher than the same week last year.

Full report.


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