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Solid Gains in U.S. Agricultural Trade Expected This Year

Global trade could rise for key commodities in next 10 years; Ag trade balance should remain positive, USDA says

Published on: Feb 20, 2014

During the 2013 growing season, grain producers and markets focused on recovering from 2012's drought-induced short-crops and rebuilding stocks.

At Thursday's opening session of the USDA annual outlook forum, Joe Glauber, USDA's chief economist, pointed out that global demands for grains and oilseeds are clicking along at record levels as well.

"Global grain consumption grew by 2.1% per year over the past 10 years, compared to a global population growth rate of only 1.2% per year," notes Glauber.

"The growth rate varies by grain," he adds. For example, global rice consumption grew at 1.4% per year; wheat use grew at 1.8% per year and global corn use grew at 3.8% per year. Industrial use, including ethanol, boosted corn consumption, particularly in the United States and China. Oilseed demand growth over the period was even more impressive, growing at over 3.6% annually, with global soybean demand growing at 4.4% annually over the past 10 years.

USDAs Joe Glauber discusses U.S. Ag Trade at the 2014 Ag Outlook Forum Thursday.
USDA's Joe Glauber discusses U.S. Ag Trade at the 2014 Ag Outlook Forum Thursday.

Exports rise to $142.6 billion
Record global use has boosted world agricultural trade and the United States has benefited. USDA projects U.S. agricultural exports at $142.6 billion for fiscal 2014, up $5.6 billion from November's estimate and $1.5 billion higher than the previous record level in FY 2013. The forecast for grain and feed exports are boosted $3.2 billion from November to $31.3 billion on greater volumes of wheat, corn and feeds and fodders.

Oilseed and product exports are forecast at $31.4 billion, up $2.5 billion, driven by record soybean and near-record soybean meal exports. The soybean export forecast is raised $1.8 billion to $21.7 billion as strong demand from China add to both volume and unit value. Higher unit values have upped the cotton export forecast by $100 million to $4.4 billion.

Related: USDA Projects 2014 Crop Prices Mostly Lower than 2013 Prices

USDA trimmed its forecast for livestock, poultry, and dairy by $100 million to $31.6 billion, with reductions to poultry, pork and other livestock products outweighing gains to dairy and beef. The horticultural product exports remain unchanged from the record November forecast of $34.5 billion.