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CHICAGO: US grain exports slumped to their lowest level in years last week as shippers struggled to restart loading operations along the Louisiana Gulf Coast after Hurricane Ida flooded and damaged grain terminals and knocked out power across the region, preliminary data showed on Monday.

Weekly US Department of Agriculture (USDA) grain inspections data, an early indicator of shipments abroad, showed the volume of corn weighed and certified for export last week was the lowest in 8-1/2 years as no grain was inspected along the Louisiana Gulf Coast, the busiest outlet for US crops.

Soybean inspections were up only slightly from the prior week’s seven-year low as only a single large bulk grain ship bound for top importer China was loaded last week in the Pacific Northwest and none at the Gulf, USDA data showed.

Ida crippled overseas grain shipments just weeks before the start of the Midwest harvest and the busiest period for US crop exports, sending export prices soaring and stoking global worries about food inflation.

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