UPDATE 1-US Grain Exports-Corn, wheat sales slump on high prices
* Corn, wheat, soybean sales below forecasts * Rival exporters offering cheaper corn, wheat * Soybean sales drop due to week-long holiday in China By Karl Plume Oct 12 (Reuters) - U.S. corn export sales fell well short of expectations last week to just a fraction of the normal harvest-time pace as near-record-high prices after the worst U.S. drought in a half century encouraged importers to buy feed grains elsewhere. Export sales of U.S. wheat fell for a third consecutive week, according to weekly U.S. Agriculture Department data released on Friday, hitting a four-month low because of high U.S. prices and stiff competition from rival suppliers. A drop in net soybean sales to a two-month low was largely due to reduced purchases by top importer China where markets were closed last week for a national holiday. "The corn and wheat sales were definitely poor. Ukrainian and Latin American (corn) offers are cheaper for now. We are still finding Argentina and Brazil offering cheap corn into the end of the year," said Dan Basse, president of AgResource Co. USDA pegged net corn sales in the week ended Oct. 4 at 4,200 tonnes for shipment in the current marketing year and 10,000 tonnes for the 2013/14 marketing year which begins Sept. 1, 2013. The sales were below trade forecasts for 300,000 to 400,000 tonnes and well below levels that would be considered normal for the season. Exporters sold a net 1.344 million tonnes of corn in the same week last year, USDA data showed. Corn sales in the season to date totaled 10.4 million tonnes, down 43 percent from the same point a year ago. U.S. corn exports were projected to fall 25 percent this season to a 38-year low. U.S. wheat sales on the global market slumped last week to the lowest point since late May as rival exporters continued to offer grain at lower prices. Russian wheat had dominated the market since late summer before its stocks ran low, allowing Western Europe to assume the role of low-cost wheat supplier. Once EU supplies run low, U.S. wheat will be competing with grain from the Southern Hemisphere, analysts said. Net sales of all classes of U.S. wheat totaled 279,900 tonnes, all for shipment in the 2012/13 season, below trade estimates for sales between 350,000 and 550,000 tonnes. Net soybean sales were 523,700 tonnes, all but 23,000 tonnes of which were for shipment in the current marketing year. The sales were below forecasts for 750,000 to 850,000 tonnes. LINKS: * USDA export sales data * U.S. corn weekly export sales * U.S. soybean weekly export sales * U.S. wheat weekly export sales * U.S. weekly export sales
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