Happy Farmers! US Ag Exports May Hit $62 Billion in FY 2004
The forecasted level could eclipse the old export record of $60 billion set in FY 1996
WASHINGTON, DC - 05/28/04 - The US Department of Agriculture's revised forecast of agricultural exports for fiscal year 2004 shows sales of $62 billion, an increase of $5.3 billion over the previous year.
That level of sales, if realized, would be the highest ever, eclipsing the old record of $59.8 billion set in fiscal year 1996, the agency said.
US agricultural exports to China alone will have more than tripled since the country's accession to the World Trade Organization, rising from $1.8 billion in 2001, to $3.5 billion in 2003 and they are expected to reach a record $5.9 billion in fiscal year 2004. China was the US' fifth largest agricultural customer in 2003 ranking as the primary market for US-produced soybeans, cotton, and hides/skins.
Wheat and corn exports are likely to account for 50% of the annual increase in agricultural exports with wheat in high demand because of reduced competition due to poor harvests in the European Union, Russia, and Ukraine.
Corn is experiencing strong sales growth to Egypt, Colombia, Israel, and Korea.
Other commodities benefiting from large sales increases this year include cotton and horticultural products.
Cotton sales are forecast to rise $1.5 billion over last year to $4.2 billion.
Horticultural export sales predicted to set a record of $13.5 billion, with tree nuts and a broad array of processed foods accounting for two-thirds of the overall gain. Sales to Canada and Mexico remain strong, while exports to Europe of selected products are "brisk," with exports to several Asian countries are "rising sharply," the DOA said.
The 2004 forecast of livestock and livestock products of $7 billion is $1 billion higher than the February level.
The surge in overseas sales is due to high beef, pork and poultry prices and the DOA's efforts to reopen some key beef and poultry markets that were closed following findings of bovine spongiform encephalopathy - or mad cow disease - and avian influenza.
Livestock exports in fiscal year 2003 totaled $9 billion.
Agricultural imports - projected at $51.5 billion for 2004 - are $5.8 billion higher than last year resulting in an agricultural trade surplus of $10 billion.
As they have for the past three decades, horticultural imports continue to rise, accounting for about half of the overall import gain. Off-season demand for fresh products and competitive prices are driving the long-term growth in imported fruits and vegetables.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service, the Foreign Agricultural Service and the World Agricultural Outlook Board release agricultural trade forecasts quarterly.
The summary and full report of USDA's Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Exports may be accessed from the ERS Web site at http://www.ers.usda.gov or the FAS Web site at http://www.fas.usda.gov.
The next quarterly report will be issued August 31.
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