US soybean futures spike to four-year high as dollar falls, exports surge

US soybean futures surged to a more than four-year high on Thursday as a weaker dollar and a...

US soybean futures surged to a more than four-year high on Thursday as a weaker dollar and a discrepancy between customs and USDA export data that is expected to slash ending stocks sent contracts higher.

January futures – the most liquid contract – surged about 2% to $11.12 c/bu to the highest since July 2016 as the dollar sank on election uncertainty and official Census export data published Wednesday showed greater than expected exports left US shores in September.

Each greenback bought 6.6 Chinese yuan at time of press, down more than 2% on the day and making it far cheaper for China to buy US beans.

More broadly, the USD was down 0.7% against a basket of currencies.

But it was export data that spooked the market.

According to Census data, exports of soybeans reached 7.8 million mt in September, more than 1.3 million mt higher than the export figure released by the USDA show.

“In September, Census data released yesterday… far exceed that which was reported by the USDA system to the tune of 51 million bu. Those bushels have an almost one-to-one impact in lowering the US carryout, which for beans is now getting to extremely tight levels,” said Jacob Christy, a broker with The Andersons.

“The dollar is weak, the Chinese bought seven cargoes yesterday and are bidding for more overnight, and the Census Bureau yesterday had September soybean exports 51 million bu higher than inspections. That’s a record divergence in my book,” said Charlie Sernatinger, a broker with ED&F Man Financial.

Last month, the USDA slashed its estimate for this year’s US ending stocks from 12.5 million mt to just under 8 million mt.

These figures could suggest that could now be revised towards 6.5 million mt.

And that is set against a record commitment in exports, with 80% of this year’s export forecast already sold.

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