WASHINGTON — The US Dept. of Agriculture on May 26 forecast the value of US agricultural exports in fiscal year 2016 (FY 2016) at $124,500 million, down $500 million from the previous forecast issued in February and down $15,200 million, or 11 percent, from $139,741 million in fiscal 2015. The forecast for the current year compared with the record export value of $152.3 billion in FY 2014 and would be the lowest export value since $108.5 billion in FY 2010.
The USDA forecast the value of US agricultural imports in FY 2016 at a record $114,800 million, down $3,700 million from the February projection but up $800 million from $114,026 million in FY 2015, the current record. The decrease from the February projection reflected a forecast decline in tropical product imports.
The US agricultural balance of trade surplus for FY 2016 was forecast at $9,700 million, up $3,200 million from the February projection but down $16 billion, or 62 percent, from $25,715 million in FY 2015.
“American farmers and ranchers continue to compete and win in foreign markets,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on the release of the trade data. “Even in today’s environment of lower commodity prices, abundant global supplies and a strong US dollar, exports remain a key pillar supporting US agriculture and rural communities. Today’s quarterly agricultural trade forecast shows the resilience of our agricultural sector despite the economic headwinds.”
According to the USDA report, the value of livestock, poultry and dairy exports in FY 2016 was reduced $300 million from its February projection to $25.4 billion as lower dairy, poultry product, and beef exports are not offset by gains in other livestock products. Dairy exports continue to face strong competition which in turn has led USDA to lower its forecasts by $200 million to $4.7 billion.
Beef exports are now projected at $5.2 billion (lowered by $200 million from February forecasts). On the other hand, pork export forecasts have increased $100 million to $4.4 billion and poultry exports are lowered $200 million to $4.6 billion. Broiler meat, turkey meat, and egg and egg product exports are still experiencing slow recovery following the 2015 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak.
On the import side, the value of livestock, poultry, and dairy product imports in FY 2016 were increased $800 million from its February projection to $16.6 billion. Live animal and dairy volumes were also raised from last quarter. However, compared to FY 2015, the forecast for live animal and dairy volumes was reduced $2.9 billion due to strong declines in livestock and meats.
Beef imports are forecast at $5.2 billion ($2.0 billion lower than projected). The demand for import meat products will be lower because of higher US meat production and reduced supplies from Australia as the country works to rebuild herds. Live cattle imports are forecast at $1.7 billion ($1.0 billion lower than FY 2015) because of a reduction in volumes and unit values from both Canada and Mexico.