USDA has revised its Fiscal 2012 ag exports forecast to $134.5 billion, up $3.5 billion from the February forecast, but $2.9 billion below final fiscal 2011 exports. USDA says grain exports are forecast up from February, with increased values for wheat, rice and feed and fodders more than offsetting a reduction for coarse grains.
Oilseeds are up on higher prices and volume, while cotton is up solely on volume. Horticultural exports are up on strong tree nut exports. The forecast for livestock, poultry, and dairy is up $400 million on increased exports of dairy, poultry, pork and variety meats.
Exports to the top three markets -- Mexico, Canada and China -- are all raised. Exports to the EU are down $1.5 billion due to increased grain and oilseed competition.
Meanwhile, U.S. import demand continues strong, lifting estimated import value by $1 billion to $107.5 billion from the $106.5 billion projected in February. Increases are forecast for vegetable oils, oilseeds, oilmeal, bulk grains, and beef and veal imports. Larger imports of rapeseed oil from Canada are leading the vegetable oil gains. These import increases were partly offset by projected declines for horticultural products and for sugar and tropical products. Smaller import projections for sugar and rubber offset gains from coffee beans.
Given that the forecast for exports is up $3.5 billion, compared with the February forecast, while imports are rising only $1 billion, the trade balance for 2012 is a surplus of $27 billion, still lower than the record $43 billion in 2011, reports USDA.