Summary: This week’s soybean export inspections could be 220,000 MT (8 MBU). That would be down 44% from the previous week. This week’s US soybean ship lineup is 395,000 MT (53 MBU), up from the previous week which was a 22-month low. There were 16 vessels to-be-nominated (TBN), down 1 from the previous week. USDA left their projection for 2022/23 US exports unchanged at 2,015 MBU. Last year’s exports were 2,158 MBU. ARC projects 2022/23 final exports will be 1,960 MBU.
As of May 11, there were 220,000 MT identified in the US vessel lineup that were scheduled to load soybeans (see blue columns in the chart below). That is up from last week’s 22-month low. A year ago the lineup was 361,000 MT. The US soybean lineup is expected to remain low based on seasonal factors associated with the increased availability of Brazilian soybeans.
The chart below plots the 2021/22 ship lineup vs the last six years.
The chart below plots the number of vessels that were TBN vs the last six years. There were 16 ships in the lineup for which there was no tonnage, destination, or commodity cargo noted (TBN), down 1 from the previous week. A year ago, there were 21 vessels TBN. The greater the number of vessels that are listed as “TBN”, the greater the difficulty in estimating the export lineup for soybeans.
We can document 185,000 MT of soybeans were shipped last week. We can account for the cargo and destination of all but 2 vessels that were in last week’s lineup but not in this week’s. Therefore, we have added 75,000 MT to set the upper end of the range at 260,000 MT. We expect “actual” inspections to be at the midpoint of the range or about 220,000 MT. That would be down 44% from the previous week. A year ago, inspections were 784,000 MT.
This past week there were NO vessels that we could identify that departed for China. However, we can identify ONE vessel in the lineup that is destined for China. There may be other vessels that departed or are destined for China which are listed as unknown.
Based on official export data and ship lineups, G-3 “cumulative” Oct-Apr soybean exports to China are estimated to be a record 64.1 MMT, up 6.1 MMT (11%) from a year ago. The previous record Oct-Apr G-3 exports to China was 60 MMT in 2021/22. In the May WASDE, the USDA raised their projection of China’s 2022/23 soybean imports 2 MMT to 98 MMT, up 7% from last year’s 91.6 MMT.