Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its quarterly Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade report, which stated that, “Fiscal 2013 agricultural exports are projected at a record $143.5 billion. Horticultural products are forecast up from the fiscal year 2012 forecast on strong demand from Canada, Europe, and Japan. Grain and feed exports are expected up, driven largely by higher wheat volume and value, but also supported by higher corn unit values. The forecast for oilseeds is up from 2012, based on record soybean and soybean meal prices attributed to tight exportable supplies. Cotton exports are forecast down on falling unit values. Exports of livestock, poultry, and dairy products are forecast marginally lower as declines in dairy, pork, and poultry outweigh growth in beef.
“U.S. imports are projected at $117 billion in 2013, up from the revised 2012 forecast of $106.5 billion. For 2012 tropical oils (coconut, palm, and palm kernel), olive oil, coffee and cocoa beans, sugar, and rubber have all experienced price declines as world demand has weakened. These downward price adjustments are expected to boost U.S. agricultural import volume in 2013.
“The forecast trade balance for fiscal 2013 shows a surplus of $26.5 billion, down $3.5 billion from the revised 2012 forecast. The revised trade surplus for 2012 is $30 billion.”