Visit Our 2015 Sponsors
Thank you to our Sponsors for their generosity and support.
* For information about our Sustaining Sponsorship Program please click here.

Michigan Agri-Business Association
"Michigan's Voice for Agriculture" 

1501 North Shore Dr., Suite A | East Lansing, MI 48823 | 517-336-0223

- DTN Headline News
USDA Cuts US Soy Exports Estimate
Monday, October 12, 2015 7:31AM CDT

By Alan Brugler
DTN Contributing Analyst

USDA on Friday cut projected U.S. soy exports another 50 million bushels, to 1.675 billion bushels. With revisions to the old-crop balance sheet, USDA is now expecting U.S. shipments to be 163 million bushels below last year. Why do they think U.S. shipments will be that small, and what could change the forecast?

Argument No. 1 is the lack of U.S. export sales on the books. As of the Thursday, Oct. 8, USDA Export Sales report, U.S. soybean export commitments were down 7.739 million metric tons (284 million bushels) from a year ago at this time. Commitments are the sum of exports since Sept. 1 and contracted but not shipped business. Commitments prior to the revision were 47% of the full-year USDA forecast. They would typically be 58% by now (five-year average). When the sales activity is that slow, USDA often lowers the full-year projection. They did make a notable exception in corn this month by leaving it unchanged.

A major reason for the lag in sales is competition out of South America. USDA hiked projected Brazilian production to 100.0 mmt (3.674 billion bushels) Friday morning from 96.2 mmt last year. Due to the weakness of the Brazilian real, farmers there are seeing much higher prices than last year in local currency terms. That is not the case in the United States, but is clearly an incentive to plant more beans in Brazil. For the full year, USDA sees Brazilian exports at 56.45 mmt, up 1.95 mmt from the September estimate and versus 51.11 mmt last year.

Brazil has also been aggressively shipping beans, as shown by the graphic accompanying this column. Brazilian shipments for calendar 2015 are over 4.9 mmt above the same period in 2014. These shipments would be from the 2014/15 crop, which was 96.2 mmt.

Let's broaden the discussion to all major exporters outside the United States (i.e. Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, or SAM for South America). That group is seen shipping 74.03 mmt in the 2015/16 marketing year versus 68.32 MMT last year. The U.S. is seen shipping 45.59 mmt versus 50.17 mmt last year. Let me do the math for you. That is a 5.71 mmt gain for SAM, and a 4.58 mmt loss for the U.S. That is a loss of market share for the U.S. to SAM-origin soybeans. U.S. sales to China mirror that market share issue, with China commitments as of Oct. 1 at 8.04 mmt (295 million bushels) below versus last year at this time.

This all looks pretty bleak, but there is hope. First of all, while those Brazilian shipments year to date are up more than 4.9 mmt, we should point out that U.S. shipments are also up 1.2 mmt for the same period. We used Export Inspections data for that figure, as Census data is only available through August. You can therefore assume that the size of the overall export pie is growing.

A big problem for the World Agricultural Outlook Board as it prepared this set of numbers is the lack of growth seen in world soybean export trade for the 2015-16 marketing year. World exports are seen at 126.77 mmt for 2015-16 versus 126.05 for old crop. There is major potential for error in this assumption, as USDA has been routinely too low on world soybean consumption at the beginning of the marketing year. The lowest prices since 2008 would seem to support more growth in consumption than one-half of 1 percent. China imports of 79 mmt are seen up versus 77 mmt last year, but the rest of world number is down. The Chinese number COULD also be conservative, but the arguments for a slowing of the Chinese economy are well known.

It could be argued, with U.S. sales to China lagging by 295 million bushels, that the 163-million-bushel year-to-year drop is actually not a big enough reduction. However, with the 13 mmt frame contract signed in Des Moines, the market knows additional Chinese business is coming. Given the conservative expectations for annual world growth, the USDA forecast seems about right for the known facts.

Alan Brugler can be contacted at


blog iconDTN Blogs & Forums
DTN Market Matters Blog
Katie Micik
Markets Editor
Monday, October 5, 2015 4:59PM CDT
Thursday, October 1, 2015 6:26PM CDT
Monday, September 28, 2015 3:07PM CDT
Technically Speaking
Darin Newsom
DTN Senior Analyst
Sunday, October 11, 2015 7:21PM CDT
Sunday, October 11, 2015 4:37PM CDT
Sunday, October 11, 2015 4:06PM CDT
Fundamentally Speaking
Joel Karlin
DTN Contributing Analyst
Thursday, October 8, 2015 2:54PM CDT
Thursday, October 1, 2015 2:50PM CDT
Tuesday, September 29, 2015 5:47PM CDT
DTN Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor
Monday, October 12, 2015 3:45PM CDT
Friday, October 9, 2015 6:59PM CDT
Wednesday, October 7, 2015 3:25PM CDT
Minding Ag's Business
Marcia Taylor
DTN Executive Editor
Monday, October 12, 2015 8:10PM CDT
Wednesday, September 30, 2015 8:29PM CDT
Thursday, September 24, 2015 9:04PM CDT
DTN Ag Weather Forum
Bryce Anderson
DTN Ag Meteorologist and DTN Analyst
Monday, October 12, 2015 8:21PM CDT
Friday, October 9, 2015 6:57PM CDT
Thursday, October 8, 2015 4:37PM CDT
Monday, October 12, 2015 7:10PM CDT
Thursday, October 8, 2015 5:36PM CDT
Wednesday, October 7, 2015 6:58PM CDT
DTN Production Blog
Pam Smith
Crops Technology Editor
Monday, October 5, 2015 7:10PM CDT
Tuesday, September 22, 2015 10:08PM CDT
Thursday, September 17, 2015 5:16PM CDT
Harrington's Sort & Cull
John Harrington
DTN Livestock Analyst
Friday, October 9, 2015 6:34PM CDT
Wednesday, September 30, 2015 6:19PM CDT
Friday, September 18, 2015 8:11PM CDT
South America Calling
Alastair Stewart
South America Correspondent
Friday, October 9, 2015 10:23PM CDT
Monday, October 5, 2015 5:33PM CDT
Monday, October 5, 2015 2:49PM CDT
An Urban’s Rural View
Urban Lehner
Editor Emeritus
Friday, October 9, 2015 5:47PM CDT
Thursday, October 1, 2015 9:30PM CDT
Monday, September 28, 2015 11:00AM CDT
Machinery Chatter
Jim Patrico
Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Monday, October 12, 2015 7:00PM CDT
Monday, September 28, 2015 6:35PM CDT
Wednesday, September 23, 2015 11:23AM CDT
Canadian Markets
Cliff Jamieson
Canadian Grains Analyst
Friday, October 9, 2015 9:47PM CDT
Thursday, October 8, 2015 9:23PM CDT
Wednesday, October 7, 2015 8:42PM CDT
Editor’s Notebook
Greg D. Horstmeier
DTN Editor-in-Chief
Wednesday, October 7, 2015 3:37PM CDT
Wednesday, September 23, 2015 5:46PM CDT
Wednesday, September 9, 2015 7:33PM CDT
Copyright DTN. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Powered By DTN