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FORT COLLINS, (Colo.): US corn and soybean exporters this month should be finishing up a record-setting season, and although recent export demand has been slower than some analysts had hoped, the progress is not too shabby when put in context with averages and expectations.

As of Aug. 19, some 19.3 million tonnes (759 million bushels) of US corn had been sold for export in 2021-22, which starts on Sept. 1, according to the US Department of Agriculture. That is easily the highest for the date in more than 15 years if not record-high.

Last year’s pace by the same date was also potentially a record at 13.2 million tonnes, and that was supported by strong sales to China, which had previously been uncommon.

China had 71% more new-crop US corn booked as of Aug. 19 than a year earlier, though there has been no activity in that arena since May, and the 2021-22 total remains at 10.7 million tonnes.

China’s quietness in US new-crop corn has increased confusion among market participants over the Asian country’s intentions, but USDA still believes 2021-22 imports will be unchanged on the year at 26 million tonnes.

When excluding sales to China in the new-crop corn total as of Aug. 19, the remaining 8.5 million tonnes is slightly above recent averages for the date and above year-ago levels. However, it is noticeably below the same points in 2016 and 2018.

That is significant because those are years when Brazil’s corn crop failed, which rerouted business to the United States.

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