Ag exports set to increase

Sep 3, 2010
by DTN

U.S. farm exports are forecast to increase to $113 billion in fiscal year 2011, the second-largest total on record, amid reduced competition from Russia and neighboring countries hit by drought, the Agriculture Department said last Tuesday.

U.S. agriculture exports have rebounded amid an improving global economy, demand from feedmakers, and crop shortages prompted by drought across parts of the Black Sea region. The record for U.S. exports was $115.3 billion in 2008.

“Much of the increase (in U.S. exports in 2011) is due to greater grain and feed shipments ... due to sharply reduced competition from Russia, Kazakhstan and the Ukraine,” USDA said.

The total was also buoyed by higher prices for wheat and corn and increased sales of distillers dried grains, an ethanol byproduct used to feed livestock, USDA said.

The only major category of farm exports forecast to fall is oilseeds, with soybean exports down $1 billion to $15.2 billion due to increased competition from South America and lower prices, USDA said.

USDA also raised its forecast for exports in fiscal 2010, which ends Sept. 30, to $107.5 billion, up from its previous quarterly estimate of $104.5 billion.

In fiscal year 2011, China, the top buyer for U.S. soybeans and cotton, is forecast to surpass Mexico as the second-largest importer of U.S. farm products, just behind Canada.

China is expected to buy $15 billion in U.S. farm goods, up from $14 billion in the current fiscal year.

Russia, usually the world’s third-largest wheat exporter, along with others in the Black Sea region, saw their crop decimated in recent weeks by the worst drought in more than 100 years.

In response, Russia has imposed a grain export ban to restrain domestic food prices. — DTN