The pace of U.S. soybean consumption continues to draw a lot of market attention. The pace of domestic soybean consumption accelerated in December 2013 and the pace of export commitments continues to exceed expectations. Even with the normal seasonal slowdown in exports of soybeans, soybean meal and soybean oil, consumption seems to be on track to exceed the available supply.
For the 2013-14 marketing year, the USDA projects the domestic soybean crush at 1.7 billion bushels and projects exports at 1.495 billion bushels. With seed, feed and residual use of 109 million bushels, consumption at the projected level would leave year ending stocks of 150 million bushels, or 4.5% of projected consumption. The projection of the domestic crush is 11 million bushels, or 0.7%, larger than the crush during the previous marketing year and 45 million bushels larger than projected in September 2013.
Based on estimates from the National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA), the crush during September 2013, the first month of the marketing year, was 9% less than the crush during September 2012. The monthly crush, however, exceeded that of a year earlier in each month from October through December 2013, with the cumulative crush during those three months exceeding last year's crush by 2.5%. While the total crush during the first four months of the marketing year is only marginally larger than that of a year ago, the recent pace has exceeded expectations and suggests that the marketing year total could exceed the current USDA projection.
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