Background and Legislative Authority
USDA's export sales reporting system has its roots in the unexpected purchase of large amounts of grain by the Soviet Union in 1972. The huge, unanticipated Soviet purchases of U.S. wheat and corn that year produced a sizable run-up in U.S. food prices and depleted U.S. reserve stocks. There was also concern over the advantage which large grain companies gained in this situation because they had more information than was available to the public on future prices and grain trade trends.
To make sure that all parties involved in the production and export of U.S. grain have access to up-to-date export information, the U.S. Congress mandated an export sales reporting requirement in 1973. Prior to the establishment of the export reporting system, it was impossible for the public to obtain information on exports until such exports were actually shipped. This frequently resulted in a considerable delay in obtaining information.
Export Sales Fact Sheet
The Export Sales Reporting Program: The Early Alert System for U.S. Exporters (brochure)
Large sales of certain designated commodities (which must be reported by 3:00 p.m. on the next business day after the sale is made) are summarized and released to the general public through a Departmental press announcement at 9:00 a.m. the following business day.
A weekly summary of export activity, "U.S. Export Sales," is generally published every Thursday at 8:30 a.m. The report is available electronically through this home page, the Department of Commerce's Electronic Bulletin Board (EBB), and National Technical Information Service (NTIS).
NOTE: The release time will be 8:30 a.m. on Friday during weeks that include a holiday or an "End of Marketing Year Final Report."
Printed copies are also available from the
National Technical Information Service (at http://www.ntis.gov/products/specialty/usda/fas_a-g.asp,
call NTIS at 1-800-363-2068, or download an order
For more information concerning the report, contact the Export Sales Reporting, Foreign Agricultural Service, Washington, DC 20250. Telephone (202) 720-9209.
Commodity coverage and frequency:
Under the export sales reporting system, U.S. exporters are required to report all large sales of certain designated commodities by 3 p.m. (Eastern time) on the next business day after the sale is made. The designated commodities for these daily reports are wheat (by class), barley, corn, grain sorghum, oats, soybeans, soybean cake and meal, and soybean oil. Large sales for all reportable commodities except soybean oil are defined as 100,000 metric tons or more of one commodity in one day to a single destination or 200,000 tons or more of one commodity during the weekly reporting period. Large sales for soybean oil are 20,000 tons and 40,000 tons, respectively.
Weekly reports are also required, regardless of the size of the sales transaction, for all of these commodities, as well as wheat products, rye, flaxseed, linseed oil, cotton (by staple length), cottonseed, cottonseed cake and meal, cottonseed oil, rice (by class), and cattle hides and skins (cattle, calf, and kip), and beef. The reporting week for the export sales reporting system is Friday-Thursday. The Secretary of Agriculture has the authority to add other commodities to this list.
What is Reported
U.S. exporters provide information on the quantity of their sales transactions, the type and class of commodity, the marketing year of shipment, and the destination. They also report any changes in previously reported information, such as cancellations and changes in destinations.
No data on individual export firms are made available publicly; all reports are released only as compilations.