China has purchased another 1.36 million metric tons of U.S. corn for delivery in the 2021-22 marketing year, putting new strain on the next U.S. harvest as domestic and international demand continues to ratchet up.

The new daily export sale announced Friday by the USDA adds to the blistering pace of Chinese purchases of new crop corn over the past seven days, bringing the total commitments over the last week to 5.1 million tons.

Here is the breakdown for the seven-day period: USDA announced Chinese purchases of 1.36 million tons of U.S. corn on Friday, 680,000 tons on Thursday, 680,000 tons on Tuesday, 1.02 million tons on Monday and 1.36 million tons last Friday, May 7. All of those commitments are for delivery in the 2021-22 marketing year, which begins Sept. 1.

“My reaction to this is that it’s always good news when we see this increased demand,” said Josh Roe, vice president of market development and policy for the Kansas Corn Growers Association. 

Roe and other representatives of the U.S. grain sector have been pleased to see the extent of Chinese demand displaced for the past week, and one contributing factor to the pace of the sales is concern over the size of Brazil’s harvest. Forecasts show Brazil will have a strong crop this year, but not as strong as expected because of drought concerns.

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The Brazilian consulting firm AgRural this week lowered its total corn production forecast this year to 95.5 million metric tons of corn, down from an earlier prediction of 103.4 million tons, and down from the previous year’s production of 102.6 million tons.

USDA, in its latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, notes that “unfavorable production prospects” will hurt corn exports from Brazil and Argentina, “supporting U.S. exports during the first half of 2021-22.”

A previous version of this story reported Monday's purchases at 1.2 million tons and total weekly purchases at 5.28 million tons. The story has been corrected to reflect Monday purchases of 1.02 million tons and total weekly purchases of 5.1 million tons. 

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