USDA forecasts record exports

USDA forecasts record exports

- Exports up more than 50% since 2009. - China may surpass Canada as largest U.S. export destination. - Import forecast record large a

EXPORTS have become critically important to U.S. agriculture in recent years.

For proof of that, one has to look no further than the soybean markets, where futures contracts lost nearly $1/bu. last week as China cancelled more than 1 million metric tons -- more than 39 million bu. -- of soybean purchases for the 2012-13 marketing year.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its second "Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade" for fiscal 2013, forecasting a record $145 billion in exports and a record $115 billion in imports.

"The latest forecast continues an astonishing trend for American farm exports that began in 2009," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. "In the years since, U.S. agricultural exports have climbed more than 50% in value, from $96.3 billion in 2009 to the most recent forecast of $145 billion (Table). Overall, these exports support more than 1 million American jobs."

Vilsack said USDA is "working harder than ever" to remove unfair trade barriers and to open new markets for U.S. agricultural products. He also noted a correlation with USDA's recent forecast for the second-highest net farm income since the 1970s.

While exports have continued to grow, marking year-over-year increases every year except in 2009 and 2012, imports have followed a similar growth trajectory, rising more than 64% since 2007. The recent trend in the U.S. agricultural trade surplus showed a peak in 2011 at $42.9 billion.

The USDA report forecasts grain and feed exports to be down $1.9 billion, mostly due to expectations for lower corn exports. Oilseed exports, on the other hand, are expected to be $3.3 billion larger on increased volumes and record prices.

USDA projected livestock and poultry exports to be slightly lower due to smaller expected poultry, beef and cattle exports.

Grain and feed exports will remain the largest single category for U.S. exports in terms of value, at $37.1 billion, while soybeans will be the largest single product in terms of volume, at 36.6 mmt.

Total exports are forecasted $9.2 billion larger than final fiscal 2012 exports of $135.8 billion, with most of the increase from the August forecast owing to expectations for increased demand from China, Indonesia and the European Union, much of which is due to forecasts of increased soybean demand.

The growth in China's demand is hard to overstate. USDA bumped up its 2013 forecast for exports to China by $700 million in November to $21.2 billion. Chinese purchases, if realized at the forecasted level, will be up 91.5% since 2009.

East Asia, in aggregate, has surpassed North America -- in other words, Canada and Mexico -- as the largest destination for U.S. agricultural exports, accounting for $50 billion of the most recent USDA forecast, compared to $40 billion for Canada and Mexico. China could also surpass Canada as the largest single destination for U.S. agricultural goods, at $21.2 billion versus $20 billion.

According to the latest projections, exports to Europe, the Middle East and Africa are all expected to continue to grow, rising 34%, 61% and 81%, respectively.

Looking at imports, slower U.S. economic growth reduced USDA's forecast for U.S. agricultural imports by $2 billion. Even so, the forecast of $115 billion is still an 11% increase from 2012, which was a 9.4% increase from 2011.

Perhaps most interesting, the forecast for beef imports shows a 13% gain in value over 2012 as domestic beef supplies tighten and processing demand remains strong.

 

U.S. agricultural trade, billion $, fiscal years ending Sept. 30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-2013 forecast-

Item

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Aug.

Nov.

Exports

82.2

114.9

96.3

108.6

137.4

135.8

143.5

145.0

Imports

70.1

79.3

73.4

79.0

94.5

103.4

117.0

115.0

Balance

12.2

35.6

22.9

29.6

42.9

32.4

26.5

30.0

Note: Reflects forecasts in the Nov. 9 "World Agricultural Supply & Demand Estimates" report.

Source: Compiled by USDA using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Commerce.

 

Volume:84 Issue:53

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