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David Sparks Ph.d Agricultural Trade Deficits
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: July 10, 2019

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The government put out its ag trade numbers for the first eight months of this fiscal year October through May. Back in April the U.S. posted an ag trade deficit 865 million dollars and then these new numbers out now for May show a deficit of over 250 million.

Agriculture department trade economist Kamron Daugherty "The first trade deficit for two months in a row since May 2016."

So far this fiscal year U.S. ag exports are running almost 7 percent below the same 8 months a year ago at ninety two point four billion dollars. Imports running two point three percent higher at just under 89 billion so we still have an ag trade surplus for the year but it's down to "three point five billion dollars down 71 percent." So two straight months of an ag trade deficit very uncommon. Now the worry is, will June's numbers show a third straight monthly trade deficit. The Department of Agriculture has been forecasting that U.S. ag exports this fiscal year will hit 137 billion dollars. Where are we as of the end of May: "92.4 billion dollars."

So you can do the math in order to get to 137 we've got to sell over 44 1/2 billion dollars worth during the four month June through September period and that would be an average sales per month of just over 11 billion dollars and we have topped that mark most months of this year. But August and September do tend to be lower sales months as U.S. crops are just beginning to be harvested. So will we get to that 137 billion dollar sales forecast.

Daugherty told us "I would not be surprised if estimates were pushed down. I think we have a lot of downward pressure.

But he says anything could happen and so will the cost of things. And we will see on August 29th that's when USDA issues its next AG grade forecast.

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