Weekly Federal Grain Inspections Services’ (FGIS) data shows that U.S. shipments of soybeans inspected for export to China have perked higher in recent weeks as the calendar approaches July. Cumulative monthly shipments through June 20 have nearly reached May totals at 1.149 million tonnes. The following chart shows that weekly loadings had fallen in mid-April/early-May before mostly increasing into the latest reporting week. Inspections totaling nearly 530,000 tonnes in the week ending June 20 were the third highest for the 2019 calendar year behind 744,000 tonnes shipped the week ending February 21st and 558,000 tonnes shipped the week ending February 7.
It will be particularly interesting to see whether China continues to ship its current outstanding purchases, which according to Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) data totals 6 million tonnes as of June 13. According to news services, Chinese buyers had requested that outstanding sales of up to 2 million tonnes be delayed throughout the month of July so as to avoid congestion at ports. Should these current outstanding sales be delayed and push other shipments back, the result could push more volume into the upcoming 2019/20 domestic marketing year which begins in September 1. Looking at recent history, monthly inspections totals have been running slightly ahead or previous years’ totals since May while shipments may compete with 2016 and 2017 levels as the current marketing year comes to a close. This data also suggests that it would be unlikely for China to make good on its current commitments as a complete halt to shipments in July would mean that almost 6 million tonnes of soybeans would need to be shipped in August.