Department of Agriculture raises export projection |

Department of Agriculture raises export projection

Fiscal Year 2018 agricultural exports are projected at $140 billion, up $1 billion from the August forecast, the Agriculture Department’s Foreign Agricultural Service and the Economic Research Service said in a report issued the last week of November.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue sounded elated at the news.

“Much of this expected success can be attributed to robust sales to our East Asian and North American trading partners,” Perdue said.

“China is again shaping up to be our top market, led by continued strong soybean sales, while Canada and Mexico remain our second- and third-largest markets, respectively. We’re expecting exports to grow in the coming year to all of our top three markets.”

But in an analysis, the Food and Environment Reporting Network noted that there are nuances in the statistics.

USDA noted the increase in the forecast is “largely due to expected increases in corn and distiller’s dried grains with solubles,” a co-product of corn milling. “Soybean export volumes continue to set records, raising the soybean forecast (by) $200 million, to $24.1 billion, which offsets expected declines in soybean meal and oil.”

Meanwhile, cotton exports, worth $5.85 billion in fiscal 2017, would drop by more than $1 billion in the current trade year due to lower prices.

U.S. agricultural imports in fiscal year 2018 are forecast at $117.0 billion, up $1.5 billion from the August forecast, due largely to expected increases in imports of animal products. The U.S. agricultural trade surplus is expected to decline by $500 million to $23 billion in fiscal 2018.