Record US Farm Exports Forecasted
Global sales could reach as high as $62 billion in fiscal year 2004
WASHINGTON, DC - 10/11/04 - The US agricultural sector is expected to produce record export levels this year, said the US Department of Agriculture's final industry forecast for fiscal year 2004.
According to the forecast, the sales of US-produced agricultural products are expected to reach $62 billion, $5.8 billion more than last year - the highest sales surge ever, eclipsing the old record of $59.8 billion set in fiscal year 1996.
The forecast is up $500 million from May's estimate largely due to stronger-than-expected cotton, beef, and pork exports.
Canada remains the No. 1 market for US agricultural products with exports estimated at $9.6 billion, followed by Japan at $8.9 billion and Mexico at $8.6 billion.
In fiscal year 2004, Asia is projected to be the US' largest regional market, with sales there expected to reach $24.5 billion.
That compares to $23.3 billion forecast to be shipped to markets in the Western Hemisphere.
Exports to China in 2004 are expected to reach $6 billion, up from $3.5 billion last year. China now is the leading importer of US cotton and soybeans, and also imports large quantities of US wheat and hides and skins.
USDA also released its initial forecast for fiscal year 2005, placing sales for next year at $57.5 billion.
The decline in value from this year is mainly due to increased competition and lower expected prices for cotton, wheat and soybeans. The export volume of major bulk commodities actually is forecast to rise 2.1 million tons to 118.7 million tons, with increases for corn and soybeans more than offsetting decreases for wheat and cotton.
Horticultural product sales are expected to reach a record $13.8 billion in 2005, with key markets being Canada, Mexico, several Asian countries and Europe.
For 2005, imports are forecast to increase 5%, reaching $55.0 billion - another new record and up $9.3 billion since 2003.
The accelerated import growth between 2002 and 2004 is largely due to higher processed product prices that resulted in part from a weaker dollar, the USDA said, adding that the price gains are expected to slow in 2005.
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