USDA Forecasts Lower Pork Trade

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service has released its quarterly Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade. Fiscal 2013 agricultural exports are forecast at a record $142 billion, down $3.0 billion from the November forecast, but $6.2 billion above final fiscal 2012 exports.

The forecast for livestock, poultry and dairy is up $300 million, with greater beef and poultry exports expected to outweigh lower pork shipments.

The weaker dollar and higher growth in developing Asia and Latin America will boost U.S. exports, despite a lack of European customers, the report indicated.

The ERS report suggested that U.S. energy supplies from U.S. gas and oil fields will be available to U.S. farmers in the form of discounts relative to world prices. This will mean lower fuel and fertilizer costs in 2013, facilitating higher output and higher trade volumes.

Fiscal 2013 forecast for grain and feed exports is lowered $4.3 billion from November to $32.8 billion with wheat and corn down sharply, accounting for most of the anticipated decline. Expected fiscal 2013 corn exports plummeted by nearly $3.0 billion to $7.8 billion. Intense competition from Brazil, Argentina and others produced a 7.0 million-ton reduction in volume from the November forecast, despite greater global demand.

The fiscal year 2013 oilseed and product exports are forecast at $32.4 billion, up $1.0 billion from the November forecast, propelled by a surge in soybean meal and oil exports. Strong product demand in the wake of less South American sales propelled a doubling of the soybean oil export forecast to 1.0 million tons, and added 800,000 tons to the meal forecast. Soybean and soybean meal prices remain at record highs.

The 2013 export forecast for livestock, poultry and dairy is expected to reach a record $30.1 billion, fueled by a $200 million increase in beef exports and a $200 million increase in poultry exports. Cattle exports are forecast $50 million higher, largely on stronger prices. Pork exports are lowered $200 million mostly on lower unit values and smaller volumes due to Russia’s import ban, although some product is expected to be redirected to other markets.

Beef imports are projected $34 million higher, while pork imports are pegged $43 million lower. Projected swine imports are reduced by 65,000 head as demand for Canadian hogs is expected to be weakened by greater U.S. pig production.    

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