USDA projects further growth in beef exports

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In its quarterly Agricultural Trade Outlook report, the USDA projects U.S. 2012 beef exports will increase in value and volume compared with 2011. The agency projects overall ag exports for fiscal 2012 at $131 billion, down $1 billion from the November forecast and $6.4 billion below fiscal 2011.

The agency raised its forecast for total 2012 livestock, poultry, and dairy exports by $1.9 billion from 2011 to a record $29.2 billion. Compared with the November forecast, the forecast is up $1.3 billion, with gains in all categories, but most significantly for dairy, poultry, and cattle.

The report projects beef and veal exports for fiscal year 2012 to reach a value of $4.9 billion, compared with $4.5 billion for 2011. The report projects beef and veal volume at to reach 0.9 million metric tons compared with 0.82 million during 2011.

The value of beef and pork variety meat exports is forecast to reach $1.3 billion during fiscal year 2012 compared with $1.2 billion during 2011. The value of exports of hides, skins and furs also will increase in fiscal year 2012, according to the report, with a projected value of $2.8 billion compared with $2.6 billion for 2011.

On the import side, the report projects slightly higher U.S. beef imports for 2012, as exports from Australia and New Zealand are expected to increase this year. The report notes, however, that an expected increase in producers retaining cattle for breeding in those countries will limit their export volume somewhat. Likewise, an expected move toward herd expansion in Canada will somewhat limit that country’s exports of live cattle. The agency forecasts U.S. beef imports valued at $3.3 billion for fiscal 2012, compared with $3 billion during 2011.

USDA projects an overall agricultural trade balance for 2012 at a surplus of $24.5 billion, down from $43 billion for 2011.

Read the full report from USDA.

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