A notable headwind for U.S. corn prices over the last several weeks has been export demand. We’ve discussed the implications of a weaker Brazilian Real here on our blog, and on social media before – but, with some unexpected political developments in Brazil lately, we thought it would be worth revisiting today.

First, a yearly comparison of Brazilian corn exports per month since 2008. Not only is the seasonal nature of Brazilian corn export activity shown very clearly by this chart, we can also see that this year has been a barn-burner for the Brazilians.

Since export figures for the month of November aren’t complete, we left it a lighter shade of yellow. However, you can already see it right up there with the monthly pace for years like 2009.

What’s been the main reason for such a strong export pace as of late? The weakened Real has continued to make export attractive. The currency, after a period of sub – R$4 trade, rocketed up again last week. This time, it was off of news that the jailed former President, leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (“Lula”), was to be released from custody. A threat to President Jair Bolsonaro’s pro-market right-wing government, Lula’s release was a cause for a break above R$4, where the currency has remained since (as of this writing).

So, a weaker Real has been a damper on export demand. We’ll see if any major increases in corn export sales occurred this week tomorrow morning, but the numbers continue to show relative weakness in American corn prices to other major exporters: