Exports of U.S. soybeans to China started off the new 2020-21 marketing year strong, and the latest USDA weekly sales data show the pace of trade is heating up.

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service is reporting export sales of about 2.5 million metric tons for the week of Sept. 4-10, with most of that – about 1.5 million tons – going to Chinese buyers. Perhaps even stronger evidence that China’s efforts to rebuild its swine herd are fueling the country’s demand for soybeans is the new data on physical exports.

The USDA is reporting about 1.7 million tons of soybean exports in the seven-day period, and again China is the biggest destination. The U.S. shipped roughly 1.1 million tons of soybeans to China in the first full week of the 2020-21 marketing year, which began Sept. 1. In a distant second place was Egypt, with imports of 113,100 tons.

“We’re still very early on in the season, but seeing this momentum early on is exciting as our farmers are out in the field cutting beans that are destined for these overseas shipments,” Mac Marshall, vice president of market intelligence for the United Soybean Board and the U.S. Soybean Export Council, told Agri-Pulse Thursday.

The new data builds upon the strong showing in the first three days of the new marketing year. The U.S. exported 526,200 metric tons of soybeans Sept. 1-3, and 400,900 tons of that total went to China.

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It was after that initial report that John Baize, an analyst for the U.S. Soybean Export Council, predicted that the U.S. would likely export as much as 6 million tons of soybeans to China this month and nearly double that amount in October.

“We’re off to a hell of a good year,” he said last week.

As of Sept. 10, the USDA estimated outstanding soybean sales – the amount of new crop soybeans purchased so far, but not yet exported – at 30 million tons. A week earlier that amount was 29.4 million tons.

U.S. corn and sorghum sales and exports to China are also strong in the new report. China purchased 359,700 tons of U.S. corn and 121,800 tons of sorghum, according to the data. U.S. exports to Chinese buyers totaled 209,700 tons for corn and 69,100 tons for sorghum.

More than half of the U.S. export sales of pork in the week were to Chinese buyers, according to USDA. Total sales for export were 50,600 tons, with Chinese buyers snapping up 35,900 tons.

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