Publications

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  • Wheat Outlook: May 2010

    WHS-10D01, May 03, 2010

    This report analyzes the role imports have played in stabilizing Afghan wheat prices by mitigating the effects of shortfalls in domestic production and assesses whether Afghanistan's internal wheat markets are sufficiently connected with international markets to cope with volatility in domestic output.

  • Indian Sugar Sector Cycles Down, Poised To Rebound

    SSSM-260-01, April 22, 2010

    This report describes and analyses the current situation and outlook for supply, demand, and trade of sugar by India, the world's second largest sugar producer. A decline in sugar production has shifted India from net exporter to net importer during 2009/10, contributing to a runup in global sugar prices. A key finding is that the production decline is primarily due to a policy-induced cycle that is becoming increasingly pronounced. While output is poised to rebound in 2010/11, moderating future cyclical swings in output and trade may hinge on the success of a dialogue on policy reform between the government and the sugar industry.

  • USDA Agricultural Projections to 2019

    OCE-2010-1, February 11, 2010

    This report provides longrun (10-year) projections for the agricultural sector through 2019. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.

  • Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook: February 2010

    SSSM-258, February 10, 2010

    In the February 2010 World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE), projected fiscal year (FY) 2010 production for Mexico is reduced 200,000 metric tons, raw value (MTRV) from last month based on weather-reduced sugar yields to date. Exports are reduced by the same amount. Projected FY 2010 U.S. sugar supply is decreased by 85,000 short tons, raw value (STRV) from last month due to lower imports from Mexico, more than offsetting higher sugar production. Imports from Mexico are reduced by 220,000 STRV.

  • Growth and Equity Effects of Agricultural Marketing Efficiency Gains in India

    ERR-89, December 17, 2009

    ERS examines the performance of India's agricultural marketing system and analyzes economywide implications of improved marketing efficiency that might stem from future reforms.

  • Feed Outlook: December 2009

    FDS-09K-01, December 14, 2009

    China's corn imports are minimal, even though it is using a growing proportion of its corn to produce starch, ethanol, and other industrial products. The corn-processing industry's growth was encouraged by Chinese government policy, but the industry now has excess capacity. Many of the corn-based industrial products are exported. China's price support for corn during 2008/09 increased raw material costs for the industry and slowed its growth.

  • Trade and Development When Exports are Volatile: A Case Study From Malawi

    Amber Waves, December 01, 2009

    Tobacco, accounts for about 60 percent of Malawi’s total merchandise export earnings and 13 percent of its GDP. However, Malawi has found it difficult to sustain economic growth because tobacco export revenues have not been invested in yield-increasing technologies and inputs to improve productivity.

  • Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook: October 2009

    SSS-256, October 05, 2009

    The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, as amended by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, requires that sugar marketing allotments be in effect in fiscal year (FY) 2010. The act requires that the Overall Allotment Quantity (OAQ) be set at no less than 85 percent of the estimated quantity of sugar for domestic consumption. On September 25, the Secretary of Agriculture announced that the FY 2010 OAQ is set at 9,235,250 short tons, raw value (STRV). This amount is above the minimum 85 percent level of the estimated sugar for domestic consumption.

    The report includes the special article "Tight Supplies Expected To Sustain High U.S. Sugar Prices into 2009/10."

    Listen to a podcast based on this article.

  • The Economics of Agricultural and Wildlife Smuggling

    ERR-81, September 16, 2009

    ERS examines the characteristics and scope of agricultural and wildlife smuggling, its responsiveness to economic incentives, and regulations and other efforts to reduce its risks.

  • U.S. Cotton Prices and the World Cotton Market: Forecasting and Structural Change

    ERR-80, September 09, 2009

    This report analyzes recent structural changes in the world cotton industry and develops a statistical model that reflects current drivers of U.S. cotton prices. Legislative changes in 2008 authorized USDA to resume publishing cotton price forecasts for the first time in nearly 80 years. Systematic problems have become apparent in the forecasting models used by USDA and elsewhere, highlighting the need for an updated review of price relationships. A structural break in the U.S. cotton industry occurred in 1999, and world cotton supply has become an important determinant of U.S. cotton prices, along with China's trade and production policy. The model developed here forecasts changes in the U.S. upland cotton farm price based on changes in U.S. cotton supply, the U.S. stocks-to-use ratio (S/U), China's net imports as a share of world consumption, the foreign supply of cotton, and selected farm policy parameters.

  • China’s Cotton Use Trimmed by Growing Efficiency and a Slowing Economy

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2009

    Higher efficiency combined with changes in fiber blending has reduced the volume of cotton fiber needed to produce China’s textile and clothing exports. These changes have important implications for understanding world cotton markets and the size of the world’s largest cotton textile industry.

  • Random Inspections Reveal Import Risks

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2009

    With the rising volume of agricultural imports in recent decades comes a growing risk of non-native pests and pathogens. Customs agents inspect what they know to be the riskier shipments, but they cannot inspect every shipment. ERS developed a model to determine the optimal number of random inspections of agricultural imports and the most effective allocation of inspection resources at a given port.

  • What the 2008/2009 World Economic Crisis Means for Global Agricultural Trade

    WRS-0905, August 20, 2009

    The global economic crisis that started in late 2008 has led to a sharp curtailment of international trade, including a short-term decline in the value of global agricultural trade of around 20 percent. After slowing, global agricultural trade will continue to grow in the future. The crisis is leading to a realignment of exchange rates, and the ultimate resolution of the crisis will depend on adjustments in the exchange value of the U.S. dollar. The U.S. agricultural sector would benefit from a depreciating dollar, which results in high export earnings, high agricultural commodity prices, increased production, and increased farm income.

  • Trade and Development When Exports Lack Diversification: A Case Study from Malawi

    ERR-77, July 30, 2009

    Developing countries, particularly those that depend heavily on a small number of agricultural exports, are vulnerable to domestic and international shocks. These countries often have difficulty achieving sustained economic growth. This analysis uses Malawi, a country that earns most of its foreign exchange from tobacco, as a case study of export concentration and heavy exposure to volatility. The econometric results suggest that the decline in Malawi's gross domestic product (GDP) when tobacco exports are falling is almost three times greater than the increase in GDP when exports are rising. Model based simulations indicate that variability in tobacco exports leads to slower economic growth because GDP falls by a relatively large amount in response to a given decrease in exports, while recovering little during an upswing in exports. Gains in tobacco yield and improvements in marketing efficiency, however, can help buffer Malawi's GDP from variability in export revenues.

  • The Transmission of Exchange Rate Changes to Agricultural Prices

    ERR-76, July 15, 2009

    ERS addresses the two main reasons for incomplete transmission of exchange rate changes to a country's domestic agricultural prices: namely, restrictive trade policies and poor market conditions.

  • Imports From China and Food Safety Issues

    EIB-52, July 07, 2009

    Food imports from China more than tripled in value from 2001 to 2008. ERS indicates the types of foods imported, analyzes FDA refusals of shipments, and describes China's food safety regulation.

  • Food Security Assessment, 2008-09

    GFA-20, June 30, 2009

    Food security in 70 developing countries is projected to deteriorate over the next decade, according to USDA's Economic Research Service. After rising nearly 11 percent from 2007 to 2008, the number of food-insecure people in the developing countries analyzed by ERS researchers is estimated to rise to 833 million in 2009, an almost 2-percent rise from 2008 to 2009. Despite a decline in food prices in late 2008, deteriorating purchasing power and food security are expected in 2009 because of the growing financial deficits and higher inflation that have occurred in recent years. Food-insecure people are defined as those consuming less than the nutritional target of 2,100 calories per day per person.

  • A Weakening Global Economy Interrupts Agricultural Trade

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2009

    The financial sector turbulence originating in the United States has had a ripple effect worldwide, curbing economic growth in nearly every country. Slower growth and weaker currencies in emerging markets have reduced U.S. competitiveness and agricultural exports in the short term. At the same time, reduced consumer spending domestically is dampening U.S. import growth. Despite the current downturn, world food demand remains stable, and demand for U.S. exports is expected to recover as developing-country growth resumes in the longer term.

  • Russia's Growing Agricultural Imports: Causes and Outlook

    WRS-09-04, May 15, 2009

    During the 2000s, Russian agricultural imports have grown considerably, from $7 billion in 2000 to $33 billion in 2008. This import growth has made Russia the second largest agricultural importer among emerging markets, after China. The main reasons for the import rise are macroeconomic-high growth in Russian gross domestic product, which increases consumer income and purchasing power, and real appreciation of the ruble, which makes imports less expensive vis-a-vis domestically produced goods. The economic crisis that hit Russia (and the world) in autumn 2008 makes the outlook for Russia's agricultural imports uncertain in the short term. However, the Russian economy is expected to stabilize within a year or two, at which time agricultural imports should continue to grow, although at a lower rate than in past years.

  • Factors Behind the Rise in Global Rice Prices in 2008

    RCS-09D01, May 07, 2009

    Global rice prices rose to record highs in the spring of 2008, with trading prices tripling from November 2007 to late April 2008. The price increase was not due to crop failure or a particularly tight global rice supply situation. Instead, trade restrictions by major suppliers, panic buying by several large importers, a weak dollar, and record oil prices were the immediate cause of the rise in rice prices. Because rice is critical to the diet of about half the world's population, the rapid increase in global rice prices in late 2007 and early 2008 had a detrimental impact on those rice consumers' well-being. Although rice prices have dropped more than 40 percent from their April 2008 highs, they remain well above pre-2007 levels.