USDA Export predictions
U.S. agriculture could possibly see an improving export situation in this new fiscal year, 2020. And with it, a growing trade surplus. That is the brand new trade outlook from the Agriculture Department. Now we ended fiscal year 2019 with $135 and a half billion dollars worth of ag export sales. $11 billion less than 2018. Now, back in August, USDA put 2020 exports, the forecast, at 137
but in USDA’s new trade forecast: “We raised that slightly by about 2 billion dollars to 139.”
USDA’s chief economist Rob Johansson, and once again, China seems to be the key factor. All of this revolving around a key factor in the higher export forecast.
“The forecast for exports to China is higher by $3.5 billion compared to our estimates in August and is now expected to reach nearly $11 billion.” About a billion more than this past fiscal year. “We've seen China is going to need more pork in particular exports, because they're going to be building out their livestock sector after the impact of African swine fever.”
And so Johansen says: “That increase to China of 3.5 billion more than offsets any reductions that we see in some of our other export countries. We do see slight reductions in our exports to Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, in the EU and unchanged levels with respect to Canada and Mexico.
Now, he is quick to point out this better forecast for sales to China is not based on an end to the tariffs, not based on optimism about that, but rather just on things as they were when the forecast was made. Now, some of those anticipated declines in sales to other countries are based on global and U.S. economic growth being slower than had been expected, dampening the general level of trade and demand. One last thing with more imports of foreign ag products into the U.S.. The U.S. trade surplus last fiscal year dropped to four and a half billion dollars. Analysts think that will grow this fiscal year to 7 billion. But that's a far cry from the 43 billion in 2014.