USDA adjusts trade outlook lower

Ag exports projected at $144.5 billion, down $8 billion from original forecast.

Fiscal 2015 agricultural exports are projected at $144.5 billion, down $8 billion from the revised $152.5 billion forecast for fiscal 2014, USDA projected in its updated outlook for agricultural trade released Aug. 28.

Although projected lower, 2014 is projected to be another record-setting year, the highest amount of ag exports ever. And 2015, while projected to be down, is still projected to be the second highest year of ag exports.

Oilseeds and products are down $5.1 billion as a result of lower expected soybean and meal prices. Grain and feed exports are down $4.9 billion from fiscal 2014 on both lower export volumes for corn and wheat and expected lower unit values.

Exports of livestock, poultry, and dairy products are down $500 million. However, beef exports are forecast to increase $200 million to a record $6.2 billion as higher prices offset lower volumes. Pork is forecast to decrease $300 million to $5.3 billion due to tight supplies and lower prices. Poultry is forecast to decrease by $100 million to $6.1 billion on less robust poultry meat and egg export volumes. Dairy exports are forecast to decrease $500 million to $7.0 billion as market competition is expected to intensify and global prices are projected to decline.

The fiscal 2014 export value for livestock, poultry, and dairy is raised $1.2 billion to $33.4 billion with gains in dairy, beef, and pork. Dairy is up $700 million to a record $7.5 billion on strong cheese and milk powder sales to Mexico and Asian markets. Beef is raised $400 million to $6.0 billion on higher volumes and prices. Pork is raised $200 million to a record $5.6 billion on increased prices and continued strength in volume.

Horticultural exports are forecast up $2.9 billion to a record $37.0 billion, and, if realized, will be the first time exports of horticultural products are greater than exports of grain and feed products.

Agricultural exports to China are forecast down $3.0 billion from fiscal 2014, but China is expected to remain the top U.S. market for agricultural products. Exports to Russia are projected to fall $800 million to total $400 million in fiscal 2015 as a result of trade restrictions against the United States. Russia’s share of U.S. agricultural exports would decline from 0.8 percent in 2014 to about 0.3 percent in 2015.

U.S. agricultural imports are forecast at a record $117 billion in fiscal 2015, $7.5 billion higher than in fiscal 2014. Increases in import value are expected for most products in 2015, with the largest gains in horticultural products, sugar and tropical products, and livestock products. The

U.S. agricultural trade surplus is expected to fall by $15.5 billion in fiscal 2015, to $27.5 billion. This would be the smallest surplus since 2009.

For fiscal 2014, the record $152.5 billion forecast for exports is up $3.0 billion from last quarter’s forecast, and imports are down $1 billion to $109.5 billion.

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