Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade

FY 2017 U.S. Exports Forecast at $137.0 Billion; Imports at $114.5 Billion

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Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade: May 2017
  • U.S. agricultural exports are projected to rise in fiscal year (FY) 2017, driven by livestock, grain/feed, and cotton exports.
  • FY 2017 agricultural exports are projected at $137.0 billion, up $1.0 billion from the February forecast, as increases are expected in livestock, grain/feed, and cotton.
  • The forecast for livestock, poultry, and dairy exports is raised $600 million this month to $28.7 billion due to an expected increase in red meat shipments that more than offsets slight declines in the poultry and dairy forecasts.
  • Grain and feed exports are forecast at $29.0 billion, up $400 million, driven by a larger volume for wheat and higher unit values for rice.
  • Cotton exports are forecast up $400 million to $5.4 billion as the United States continues to gain market share across major markets.
  • Oilseed and product exports are forecast at $31.7 billion, up $100 million due to an expected increase in soybean product exports.
  • The export forecast for U.S. horticultural products is down $500 million to $33.5 billion on the basis of lower unit values for tree nuts.

U.S. agricultural imports forecast remains unchanged for FY 2017

  • U.S. agricultural imports in FY 2017 are forecast at $114.5 billion, unchanged from February and $1.4 billion above the total for FY 2016. Expected increases in imports of oilseeds and sugar/tropical products are offset by lower expected imports of horticultural and livestock/dairy products.
  • Horticultural imports are expected to reach a new record of $54.1 billion in FY 2017, though this represents a downward adjustment this month of $300 million. The downward adjustment is largely due to a reduced projection of fresh vegetable imports, as falling average import unit values drag down total values despite higher expected volumes.
  • U.S. imports of sugar and tropical products are forecast to reach $23.3 billion in FY 2017, a $300-million upward adjustment from the February forecast and $1.1 billion above the FY 2016 level. Coffee product imports are expected to increase by $200 million from the last projection, due to larger than expected volume.
  • The FY 2017 livestock, dairy, and poultry import forecast is lowered $200 million from the February forecast to $15.6 billion. Higher domestic beef and cattle production has reduced demand for imported beef from Oceania and cattle from Canada and Mexico.
  • Imports of oilseeds and oilseed products are forecast at $8.8 billion, $200 million more than the previous forecast, due to projected increases in both U.S. demand and world production of vegetable oils.

The U.S. agricultural trade surplus is forecast at $22.5 billion in FY 2017, up from $16.6 billion in FY2016

U.S exports to Asian markets remain strong

  • U.S. exports to Japan are forecast up $300 million this month to $11.5 billion, supported by increased demand for beef, pork, and other consumer-oriented products. Exports to South Korea are forecast up $300 million to $6.7 billion due to strong demand for beef, pork, and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS).
  • In Southeast Asia, the export forecast for Vietnam is up $300 million this month due to expected increases in cotton and tree nut shipments. Indonesia’s export forecast is up $200 million on strong projected sales of cotton and feeds/fodders.
  • Forecast exports to Canada are reduced by $300 million to $21.0 billion, as demand for consumer-oriented products was not as strong as previously expected. Projected exports to Mexico are raised $200 million from the previous forecast, based on stronger demand for red meats, wheat, and DDGS.
  • The U.S. export forecast for the European Union is down $200 million this month to $11.7 billion, based on lower unit values for tree nuts.

Mexico is expected to remain the top U.S. agricultural supplier in FY 2017

  • Projected U.S. imports from the Western Hemisphere are reduced $200 million this month from the February forecast. The forecast total of U.S. agricultural imports from Mexico remains unchanged at $22.5 billion. The import total from Canada is decreased by $100 million to $21.7 billion as downward adjustments to U.S. imports of livestock and meats outweigh strong imports of oilseed products.
  • Imports from China, the largest U.S. supplier in Asia, are forecast to increase by $100 million due to higher expected imports of processed vegetables that more than offset downward adjustments for processed fruit products.
  • The forecast for imports from Indonesia is increased by $200 million this month due to higher sales of palm oil, coconut oil, and natural rubber, among other products.
  • Forecast U.S. imports from Oceania are lowered by $400 million due to reductions in the expected sales of a range of animal products.
  • Imports from Chile are forecast $200 million less than previously due to lower expected imports of horticultural products, such as fresh fruit. Colombia’s shipments to the United States of sugar and tropical products—particularly coffee products—raise forecast imports by $100 million.