Corn inspections push total grain exports higher
For the week ending November 1, total inspections of grain (corn, wheat, and soybeans), for export from all major U.S. export regions, reached 2.84 million metric tons (mmt); up 15 percent from the previous week, down 13 percent from last year, and down 17 percent from the 3-year average.
Grain inspections increased as corn inspections jumped 80 percent from the previous week. Corn inspections increased to destinations in Asia and Latin America. Soybean and wheat inspections, however, were down 7 and 17 percent, respectively, from the previous week.
Compared to last week, grain inspections increased 40 percent in the Mississippi Gulf but decreased 13 percent in the Pacific Northwest.
Diesel fuel prices drop for third consecutive week
During the week ending November 5, U.S. on-highway diesel fuel prices decreased 1.7 cents per gallon to $3.338. Prices have decreased 5.6 cents over the past 3 weeks, partially reclaiming the accumulated 18.7 cents increase in September and much of October.
The Energy Information Administration reported, crude oil spot prices averaged $81 per barrel (b) in October, up $2/b from September. Despite the increase in monthly average prices, spot prices declined from $85/b on October 1 to $75/b on October 31, relieving pressure on diesel fuel prices.
Slower pace of grain barge tonnages drags down barge freight rates
As of November 3, year-to-date (YTD) grain barge tonnages, on the locking portions of the Mississippi, Ohio, and Arkansas rivers, were 31.7 million tons, 7 percent lower than last year. Significantly reduced demand from China and poor navigation conditions have contributed to the reduction in the volumes of barged grain.
Year-to-date (YTD), corn barge shipments were up 5 percent compared to last year. However, this was not enough to offset the 20 percent decline in YTD soybean shipments, resulting in lower overall demand for barge services. As of November 6, barge spot rates from major interior shipping locations were 16 to 28 percent lower than the 5-year average.