Summary: This week’s soybean export inspections could be 500,000 MT (8 MBU). That would be up 238% from the previous week. This week’s US soybean ship lineup is 231,000 MT (53 MBU), down 42% from the previous week. There were 11 vessels to-be-nominated (TBN), down 5 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 18, there were 231,000 MT identified in the US vessel lineup that were scheduled to load soybeans (see blue columns in the chart below). That is down 42% from the previous week. A year ago the lineup was 213,000 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 11 ships in the lineup for which there was no tonnage, destination, or commodity cargo noted (TBN), down 5 from the previous week. A year ago, there were 25 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 475,000 MT of soybeans were shipped last week. We can account for the cargo and destination of all but 4 vessels that were in last week’s lineup but not in this week’s. Therefore, we have added 200,000 MT to set the upper end of the range at 675,000 MT. We expect “actual” inspections to be near the low end of the range or about 500,000 MT. That would be up 238% from the previous week. A year ago, inspections were 525,000 MT.
This past week there was ONE vessel that we could identify that departed for China. 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.