US: Export Sales

December 30, 2022 07:30 CST

The Export Sales Reporting Program monitors U.S. agricultural export sales on a daily and weekly basis.

The program requires U.S. exporters to report sales of certain commodities to FAS each week. Commodities currently covered by the program are wheat, wheat products, barley, corn, grain sorghum, oats, rye, rice, soybeans, soybean cake and meal, soybean oil, cotton, cottonseed, cottonseed cake and meal, cottonseed oil, sunflowerseed oil, flaxseed, linseed oil, cattle hides and skins, beef and pork. FAS publishes a weekly summary of export sales activity every Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time, unless a change is announced.

In addition to the weekly requirement, daily reporting is required when a single exporter sells 100,000 metric tons or more of wheat, corn, grain sorghum, barley, oats, soybeans, soybean cake or soybean meal, or 20,000 metric tons or more of of soybean oil, to a single destination on a single day. FAS issues a summary of daily sales at 9 a.m. Eastern time on the following business day. Daily sales are also included in the weekly report. (See the latest daily sales reports below, under News.)

This report allows analysts to monitor export activity for US agricultural products, including actively -traded contracts like corn, wheat, soybeans, soybean meal, soybean oil, cotton, pork and beef. The report tracks sales and physical exports for the week ending the prior Thursday.

Sales vs. Shipments
"Sales" are reported as they occur, which is often well ahead of the actual export date. They can be cancelled, too. Sales are sometimes reported for the following marketing year, and as the end of a year approaches, the sales for the next year increase. At the end of a given year, any sales that have not been shipped are moved into the next year's tally.

Analysts often track the amount of unshipped sales. If that number is unusually high, analysts may wonder about potential cancellations.

Similar to the Export Inspections report, analysts like to compare the current year's export sales pace with previous years. They also measure the pace of sales against the USDA's export forecast for the entire marketing year. For example, if cumulative US soybean export sales have reached 45% of the USDA's forecast for the entire marketing year, while the five-year average for that week was only 40%, it would suggest that exports are running stronger than what the USDA has forecast. This could draw an analyst to conclude that the USDA will revise its export forecast higher in future Supply/Demand (WASDE) reports.

This report also includes detail on which countries made the purchases. This includes "unknown," which analysts often infer to be China.

This report is not as timely as the Export Inspections report, as comes three days later and is a full week after the "as of" date. However, it covers many more products, including soybean meal, soybean oil, cotton, pork and several others. And because it presents sales as well as exports, it is more forward-looking.