USDA reports major corn purchase, fuels China rumors

By Stewart Doan

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, March 25 - USDA reported export sales of 1,250,000 metric tons of corn for delivery to unknown destinations, fueling rumors that have been floating all week of a major purchase by Chinese buyers.

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Out of this total, USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service says 1,000,000 tons is for delivery during the 2010/2011 marketing year and 250,000 tons is for delivery during the 2011/2012 marketing year. The marketing year for corn began Sept. 1.


Grain Export Terminal. Photo: USDA photo by Ken Hammond

CME Group old-crop corn futures surged nearly 15 cents higher at the opening on confirmation of the sale, but quickly backed off. At mid-session, the May contract was trading about a nickel higher at $7.07 per bushel.

China purchased1.5 million metric tons of U.S. corn last year. 

Rumors about a major sale to China emerged within the last two weeks. The USDA announced a smaller sale to unknown destinations, which traders also suspected was China.

Exporters are required to report to USDA any export sales activity of 100,000 metric tons or more of one commodity, made in one day to one destination, by 3 p.m. Eastern time on the next business day following the sale. Export sales of less than these quantities must be reported to USDA on a weekly basis.

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