FY2013 will be record US ag export year: USDA

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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WASHINGTON – US agricultural exports for FY2013 are projected to hit a record $143.5 billion, according to The Outlook for US Agricultural Trade released Aug. 31 by the US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service and Foreign Agricultural Service. However, livestock, poultry and dairy product exports are expected to be marginally lower as declines in dairy, pork and poultry outweigh growth in beef.

FY2013 livestock, poultry and dairy exports are forecast to be $200 million lower at $29.9 billion versus the prior year. Dairy, pork and poultry declines will outweigh growth in beef. Pork exports are forecast $100 million lower to $5.6 billion as higher prices and tighter exportable supplies are expected to impact shipments to more price-sensitive markets in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Poultry exports are forecast to slip $50 million to $6.2 billion amidst higher unit values and tighter exportable supplies. However, exports to Mexico, Canada and Angola are expected to remain strong. Beef exports are forecast to increase $200 million to $5 billion on higher volumes and unit values.

Meanwhile FY2012 export value for livestock, poultry and dairy products has increased $500 million from May to $30.1 billion with gains in dairy, poultry and pork. China is predicted to end the year as the top US market after overtaking Canada last year. This increase in the forecast is due to better-than-expected shipments of corn, cotton, pork and distiller’s dried grains (DDGs).

Although US imports of agricultural products in FY12 are reduced by $1 billion to $106.5 billion from the May estimate of $107.5 billion, this still represents a 13-percent increase from fiscal 2011. Livestock and dairy import projections in 2012 are up $200 million from the preceding forecast as imported cattle, pork and dairy products increase in value and volume.

Next year, cattle imports are expected to drop while beef, pork and dairy products increase in value and volume. Cattle imports are forecast lower at 1.9 million head as improved pasture conditions and declining inventories in Mexico slow shipments. Beef and veal imports are forecast higher in 2013 to almost $4.2 billion thanks to strong demand for processing beef and lower domestic cow slaughter. Pork imports are expected to increase $50 million in 2013 as tight domestic supply and high prices boost shipments from Canada.

The overall boost in 2013 of livestock and dairy products is $700 million, raising total imports to $14.1 billion from the projected $13.4 billion in 2012.

Canada and Mexico combined lead suppliers of agricultural products to the US with respect to horticulture commodities, livestock and meats, grains and feed, plus oilseeds and products. Regarding livestock and meats, Canada, Mexico, Oceania and the European Union are import leaders to the US.

Driven primarily by higher wheat volume and value and supported by higher corn unit values, grain and feed exports are expected to increase. The 2013 forecast for oilseeds is up from 2012, based on record soybean and soybean meal prices attributed to tight exportable supplies.

FY2013 grain and feed exports are forecast to achieve a record $39 billion, up $4.4 billion from the 2012 estimate. They are expected to be driven primarily by higher wheat volume and value, but also supported by higher corn value. Coarse grain exports are forecast at $13 billion, an increase of $800 million, mostly on higher corn and sorghum unit values. Corn volume is forecast down sharply by 5.5 million tons to 33.5 million tons due to tight US supplies and high prices. Feeds and fodders are up $700 million primarily due to exports of DDGs to China.

The FY2012 estimate for grain and feed exports remains unchanged at $34.6 billion; however, USDA relays there are offsetting changes. Corn exports are cut $800 million to $11.7 billion due to lower volume reflecting weaker-than-expected demand for feed grains in recent months as old-crop supplies tighten.

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