By Roger Bernard
Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 agricultural exports are forecast by USDA at $98 billion, up $1 billion from their August forecast and $1.4 billion above final FY 2009.
Though the forecast is below the record 2008 level, exports are expected to be the second highest ever, and U.S. agriculture is forecast to post yet another positive trade balance. The FY 2010 ag trade surplus is forecast at $20.5 billion.
A recovering global economy, USDA said, is expected to boost demand for U.S. high value-products.
Livestock, dairy, and poultry product exports are forecast to rise $200 million over August.
The forecast for oilseed exports is increased due to large exportable supplies and early season strong sales, while meal exports benefit from reduced competition from South American supplies.
Meanwhile, cotton exports are forecast up slightly from August due to reduced competitor supplies. Grains are up due to higher corn export prices, while increased global demand for wheat is expected to be mostly met by foreign suppliers.
Although the forecast is lowered $500 million from August, horticultural product sales are expected to reach a new record, due primarily to slightly lower processed product volumes and lower tree nut prices.
US agricultural imports in FY 2010 are forecast to gradually rebound to $77.5 billion from $73.4 billion in 2009, which declined 7% from 2008. This 5.5% projected gain, USDA said, is based partly on a modest recovery in spending by consumers over the next year. From June to August 2009, personal consumption expenditures rose by an average 0.76% per month. In September 2009, however, consumer spending decreased by 0.5%, reflecting the summer's lower real disposable income.
Roger Bernard is Farm Journal Policy & Washington Editor. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org