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USDA reports steady US ag exports in 2024

Despite steady exports, certain sectors like grains, feeds and oilseeds face declines due to competitive international markets.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that U.S. agricultural exports for fiscal year 2024 are projected to remain steady at $170.5 billion, unchanged from the February forecast. However, agricultural imports are revised upwards to $202.5 billion. This increase in imports is primarily driven by higher horticultural product imports, as well as livestock and dairy imports.

The export forecast includes notable changes across different sectors. Exports of livestock, poultry, and dairy are expected to increase by $800 million, reaching $38.5 billion. This rise is attributed to higher prospects for cheese exports to Southeast Asia and increased global demand for beef. Ethanol exports are also forecasted to rise by $400 million to $4.0 billion, owing to competitive U.S. prices.

Conversely, grain and feed exports are projected to decrease by $600 million to $37.6 billion due to lower prices for corn and wheat. Oilseed and product exports are expected to drop by $400 million to $35.8 billion, primarily due to increased competition from Brazil. Horticultural product exports are forecasted to decline by $500 million to $39.0 billion.

China's projected imports from the U.S. are expected to fall below those of Mexico and Canada, with the export forecast to China cut by $1.0 billion to $27.7 billion due to strong competition in soybeans and corn. In contrast, exports to Mexico and Canada are anticipated to hit record highs at $28.7 billion and $28.4 billion, respectively.

USDA’s World Agricultural Outlook Board approved these forecasts based on current policies and the U.S. production forecasts from the May 10, 2024, World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) release.

Global economic growth continues to rise slowly, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projecting global GDP growth at 3.2 percent in 2024. However, several challenges persist, including the war in Ukraine, conflicts in the Middle East, China’s economic uncertainties, and shifting weather patterns.

The U.S. GDP is projected to grow by 2.7 percent in 2024, supported by robust consumer spending, low unemployment, and wage growth outpacing inflation. The U.S. dollar remains strong, although it is expected to depreciate slightly against key trading partners, easing some pressure on exports.

Ocean transportation rates have increased since early 2024 due to complications with the Panama Canal and militant assaults in the Red Sea. Crude oil prices have remained relatively firm since early 2023.

These forecasts underscore the importance of adapting to global market conditions and the ongoing need for strategic planning in agricultural trade and production.

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