In an updated report, USDA increased its projections for fiscal year 2014 agricultural exports to $137 billion, up $2 billion from its last forecast in August but $3.9 billion below last year’s record export figures. While grain, feed and cotton exports are forecast down compared to the August report, projections for oilseed and livestock exports pushed total forecasts higher.

USDA increases FY 2014 ag export forecast by $2 billionUSDA also increased its projections for agricultural imports, to a record $109.5 billion. This represents a $3.7 billion decrease from USDA’s August forecast but $5.7 billion higher than in fiscal 2013. The U.S. agricultural trade surplus is expected to fall to the lowest level since 2009 at $27.5 billion.

Oilseed and product export forecasts of $28.8 billion, up $2.4 billion from August, for fiscal year 2014 accounted for the majority of the increased projections. Improved soybean yields and larger production have boosted the export outlook. In addition, USDA’s report says oilseed unit values were raised based on strong demand and current price trends. Specifically the report forecasts a $1.5 billion increase in soybeans and a $900 million increase in soybean meal export value.

Livestock, poultry and dairy exports were $700 million higher to a record $31.8 billion in the December 2 report compared to the previous export outlook report in August. Pork is forecast nearly $500 million higher to $5.5 billion. According to the report, the increase in pork export projects is due to higher prices and strong demand expected from Mexico and some Asian markets. Dairy was raised $300 million to $5.9 billion on strong demand particularly from Asia. Beef projections were nearly $100 million higher to a $5.0 billion total, with higher prices due to strong global demand and tight supplies. The report says

The top destinations for U.S. agricultural products are Canada, projected exports totaling $21.6 billion; China, projected exports totaling $21.5 billion; Mexico, forecast at $18.6 billion; Japan, forecast at $13.1 billion; and the European Union, forecast at $10.1 billion.

World income growth, estimated at 2.1 percent in 2013, is projected by USDA to increase to 2.8 percent in 2014. Trade growth, estimated at 2.5 percent in 2013, is expected to double in 2014. The dollar is projected to depreciate by a weighted average of 1 percent in 2014, on top of 4 percent depreciation in 2013, will aid export prospects in North America. According to the USDA report, lower U.S. energy prices and more available credit at continued low interest rates makes the U.S. agricultural trade outlook promising in 2014.

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