USDA Lowers Ag Export Outlook

The Department of Agriculture last week lowered its export forecast for the fiscal year 2020. USDA’s Economic Research Service says the COVID-19 outbreak has created a shock to world economies that will cause an unusually high level of uncertainty for the foreseeable future. ERS projects 2020 agricultural exports at $136.5 billion, down $3.0 billion from the February forecast, primarily due to reductions in bulk commodities. Projections for soybean exports were reduced $1.9 billion to $16.5 billion due in part to increasingly competitive Brazilian exports. Cotton exports are forecast down $1.0 billion on lower volumes and value as the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced foreign demand. Corn exports were projected at $8.0 billion, down $500 million, pressured by ample exportable supplies and weak domestic use for fuel ethanol. The forecast for wheat exports is down $300 million to $6.1 billion. And, livestock, poultry and dairy exports are unchanged from the February projection of $32.4 billion. The forecast doesn’t take into account the recent news of China halting some purchases of U.S. agricultural products.