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Agricultural exports expected to remain strong

The USDA’s quarterly “Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade” is forecasting fiscal year 2016 agricultural exports at $138.5 billion, down $1.0 billion from the revised FY 2015 projection. Fiscal years 2015 and 2016 exports would still be the third- and fourth-highest on record, respectively.

The decline is primarily due to oilseeds and products which are down $4.4 billion as a result of lower expected soybean and soybean meal prices and reduced export volumes. Grain and feed exports are forecast to be up $1.1 billion from fiscal 2015, largely due to higher expected wheat exports.

Livestock, poultry and dairy products exports are up $600 million as higher export volumes for a number of livestock products more than offset a decline in prices. Pork exports are forecast to increase $300 million to $5.1 billion as larger volumes more than offset lower unit values. Horticultural exports are forecast to reach a record $36.5 billion with higher export values for fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, as well as tree nuts.

Canada returns to the top

Agricultural exports to China are forecast down $2.0 billion from fiscal 2015, primarily due to lower soybean values. Canada is expected to return as the largest U.S. export market for the first time since 2010. Agricultural imports are forecast at a record $122.5 billion in FY 2016, $7.0 billion higher than FY 2015. Increases in import values are expected for most products in 2016, with the largest gains in horticultural, and sugar and tropical products.

The U.S. agricultural trade surplus is forecast at $16.0 billion for FY 2016 which would be the smallest surplus since 2007.

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