On Monday, the USDA released its Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade, a quarterly report from the Department’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and Economic Research Service (ERS). Today’s update includes highlights from the report, which was coordinated by Bart Kenner and Hui Jiang.
The Outlook stated that, “U.S. agricultural exports in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 are projected at $152.0 billion, up $11.5 billion from the August forecast, driven by higher soybean and corn export values.
The projection for soybean exports is up $5.9 billion to a record $26.3 billion due to higher unit values, strong demand from China, and record volumes. Corn exports are forecast up $4.2 billion to $13.2 billion as a result of reduced competition, higher unit values and record volumes.
“Wheat exports are projected at $6.2 billion, up $200 million, on higher unit values and slightly larger volumes.”
More narrowly, FAS-ERS explained that, “FY 2021 U.S. grain and feed exports are forecast at $35.6 billion, up $4.6 billion from the August forecast on higher corn, sorghum, and wheat exports. Corn exports are forecast at $13.2 billion, up $4.2 billion on expectations of both higher unit values and record volumes. Prospects for exports are bright with reduced competition from Ukraine, where exportable supplies are severely diminished, and anticipated higher demand from China. Sorghum exports are forecast at $1.5 billion, up $100 million on higher unit values as sales and shipments to China remain strong. Feed and fodder exports are unchanged at $8.1 billion. Wheat exports are forecast at $6.2 billion, up $200 million mainly on higher unit values. Volumes are also projected up slightly on increased sales, primarily to China. Global wheat prices have surged in recent months due to dry growing conditions in the U.S., Russia, and Argentina.”
With respect to oilseeds, The Outlook stated that, “FY 2021 oilseed and product exports are forecast at a record $36.3 billion, up $7.2 billion from the August forecast. Soybeans account for most of the gains, as the value is forecast up $5.9 billion to a record $26.3 billion.
A smaller U.S. crop, reduced stocks, and strong demand from China have significantly strengthened U.S. prices. Soybean export volumes are also forecast at record levels due to growing demand in China and reduced near-term competition from Brazil.
Monday’s report added that, “FY 2021 livestock, poultry, and dairy export forecasts are unchanged from the previous forecast at $32.3 billion as lower exports of pork and hides and skins offset increases in beef and poultry. Beef exports are up $200 million to $7.1 billion as higher volumes more than offset a decline in unit values.”
The Outlook also pointed out that, “Pork exports are forecast $200 million lower to $6.8 billion on slowing demand from China.”
With respect to regional trade, FAS-ERS stated that, “The export forecast for China is raised $8.5 billion from August to $27.0 billion, primarily as a result of strong soybean and corn demand and reduced competition from other exporters. With this new forecast, China is projected once again to become the top U.S. agricultural export market, after last holding this position in FY 2017.
“Forecast exports to Japan and South Korea are increased by $600 million and $500 million, respectively, due to higher expected corn and beef exports.
“Exports to Taiwan are forecast $300 million higher on improved corn and soybean prospects.”
Regarding Canada and Mexico, FAS-ERS explained that, “The export forecast for Canada is unchanged from the previous projection of $21.0 billion, as higher corn prospects offset lower expected sales of miscellaneous horticultural products. The export forecast to Mexico is up $200 million to $19.5 billion, largely due to higher expected corn exports.”
“For fiscal year 2020 ended in September, USDA data shows China buying $17.1 billion in farm-related goods, up from an August estimate of $14 billion. That puts the Chinese far behind its pledge to buy $36.5 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products in the current calendar year.”
“Corn purchases reached 7.82 million metric tons in the year through October, almost double a year ago and exceeding the WTO quota of 7.2 million, according to customs data. Purchases in October reached the second-highest level on record, breaching a million tons for a third month, as the nation’s hog herd recovers from the ravages of African swine fever.”
Keith Good is the Farm Policy News editor for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, and compiled the daily FarmPolicy.com News Summary from 2003-2015. He is a graduate of Purdue University (M.S.- Agricultural Economics), and Southern Illinois University School of Law.
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