USDA lowers corn and soybeans domestic stocks of its last forecast

The USDA has tightened the domestic balance sheets for soybeans and corn in the first major set of numbers since the US government shutdown. Corn ending stocks were down slightly from December with a lower 2018 production total and reduced expectations for ethanol use, while soybeans were also modestly lower on a smaller crop and lower export demand. Wheat ending stocks were up from the previous report because of lower domestic use projections.

The delayed 2018 production total for corn was below most analysts estimates following a bigger than expected cut to the average yield figure, while soybeans were close to expectations, but down from December, with both beans and corn seeing an impact from the late harvest in many areas. The USDA also lowered soybean production estimates for Argentina and Brazil and reduced its soybean import estimate for China.

The 2018/19 marketing year runs through May for wheat, August for soybeans and corn, and September for soybean meal and oil. January’s report was effectively canceled by the government shutdown. The next set of supply and demand estimates, scheduled for March 8th, could be delayed if the federal government shuts down again.

2018/19 U.S. wheat ending stocks were pegged at 1.010 billion bushels, compared to 974 million in December and 1.099 billion for 2017/18. 2018/19 world wheat ending stocks were reported at 267.53 million tons, compared to 268.10 million in December. China holds more than half of the world supply. Global production is pegged at 734.75 million tons, compared to the last guess of 733.41 million, with higher outlooks for Brazil, the Mideast, Russia, and dozen smaller former Soviet states cancelling out reductions for Argentina and China.

2018/19 U.S. corn ending stocks are seen at 1.735 billion bushels, compared to 1.781 billion in the last update and 2.140 billion last marketing year. The USDA reduced its 2018 production total to 14.42 billion bushels and lowered imports 5 million bushels to 40 million, for a total supply of 16.6 billion bushels. 2018/19 world corn ending stocks are expected to be 309.78 million tons, compared to 308.8 million two months ago, with China holding about two thirds of the global supply.

2018/19 U.S. soybean ending stocks are projected at 910 million bushels, compared to 955 million the previous report and 438 million a year ago. The USDA lowered production to a still record 4.544 billion bushels and reduced imports by 5 million to 20 million bushels, leaving total supply at 5.002 billion bushels.  The world soybean ending stocks for 2018/19 are estimated at 106.72 million tons, compared to 115.33 million in the last report.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at

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