Recent trade war uncertainties and retaliatory tariffs seem to have hit anticipated agricultural trade earnings for 2019.
Periodically, USDA Economic Research Service releases a projected outlook report over agricultural trade in the U.S. The latest report was released on May 30 and the next report is scheduled for Aug. 29.
Exports for the fiscal year 2019 are now projected $4.5 billion down from the February forecast, at $137 billion, the report read. This is a result of reductions in trade of grains, oilseeds, livestock, and livestock products.
Grain and feed exports are forecast to be down $2.7 billion, at $31 billion. Corn exports are expected $1.4 billion down due to lower volume and unit value. U.S. corn continues to be less price-competitive than South American corn.
Livestock, dairy, and poultry exports are projected $500 million down from export decreases in beef, hides, and pork. Beef exports are forecast $300 million lower on softer prices and volumes. However, the report reads that the U.S. is expected to expand market share in Asia, as Australia struggles with weather-related production impacts and lower exportable supplies.
African swine fever and trade tensions with China have driven soybean demand down $1.5 billion.
U.S. agricultural imports are projected to increase $1 billion, totaling $129 billion, and the agricultural trade surplus is forecast down $5.5 billion from February, for a total of $8 billion.
Horticultural product imports are expected to increase an additional $1.3 billion from the February forecast, which is also $1.3 billion above fiscal year 2018. Imports are expected to decrease in sugar, tropical products and oilseeds, but increases in horticultural imports will offset the predicted decreases. — Anna Miller, WLJ editor