Last Thursday, May 30, USDA released its quarterly Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade, forecasting import and export value totals for the current year. USDA decreased its initial export value forecast by $4.5 billion, from $141.5 billion down to $137 billion.
Lower forecasted export shipments to Asian countries accounted for 90 percent of the decline in export value, with Chinese markets, including Hong Kong, accounting for $3.3 billion or 73 percent of the export value decrease. Chinese demand for soybeans, animal feed, leather, nuts, meat, and other commodities has clearly been slower than USDA expected in February. U.S. soybean exports are forecasted to be 48.3 MMT, or $17 billion in revenue, down $1.5 billion from the previous estimate.
The U.S. corn export value forecast was also adjusted downward, from $11.8 billion to $10.4 billion, nearly a 12 percent drop. In terms of volume, that works out to 4 MMT less corn exported. This could partly be attributed to importers sourcing cheaper corn from South America, where Brazilian farmers are anticipating a record 100 MMT crop.
The only commodity group or subgroup that had its export value forecast increased was dairy products, which rose $200 million to $5.6 billion. Export value forecasts of some groups remained unchanged, such as sugar and tropical products, which remained at $5.9 billion.