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Mixed Bag in Recent USDA Ag Trade Outlook

U.S. ag exports are forecast at $181 billion for fiscal year 2023, down $3.5 billion from expectations in the February forecast. Veronica Nigh, senior economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation, says the U.S. is facing a significant trade imbalance.

Nigh says; “Relative to last year, USDA is now projecting that U.S. ag exports will be down $15 billion while imports are projected up $4 billion. That means the trade balance is estimated to be at a deficit of $17 billion. When we think about that on a volume versus value basis, exports are expected down 19 percent by volume and 16 percent by value relative to last year.”

Nigh says U.S. ag trade is being impacted by global monetary conditions; “Well, for anyone who’s buying anything, it won’t be a surprise that inflation remains on a slowing trend, but economic growth challenges are materializing as monetary conditions tighten. World real GDP is projected to increase by only 2.8 percent in 2023. That’s down from 3.4 percent last year.”

She says the impact of these economic challenges vary by commodity. Nigh said; “When you look on the corn side, exports are expected down 26 percent by value, 27 percent by volume. Sorghum is down over two-thirds by value, 68 percent, and by volume, 69 percent. Now, it’s not all bad news. Beans are expected down on volume by seven percent but only down by three percent on value. And then, when we move to the meat case, beef exports are expected down 14 percent, but pork exports are expected up, as are broiler meat exports. So certainly, a mixed bag.”

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