Tags: USDA | Farm | Exports | Record

USDA: Farm Exports to Set Record as Meat Sales Climb

Thursday, 30 May 2013 05:38 PM

U.S. farm exports will rise 2.7 percent to a record this year as soybean and livestock sales increase, the government forecast.

Shipments will reach $139.5 billion in the year that began Oct. 1, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday in a quarterly estimate. Exports to China, whose biggest pork producer, Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd., Wednesday said it would buy U.S.-based Smithfield Foods Inc., probably will fall 3.7 percent from a year earlier to $22 billion, the USDA said. The world's most-populous country has surpassed Canada in recent years and is the biggest buyer of U.S. farm goods.

"It isn't a question of whether the U.S. can sell, it's whether we have enough to sell," said Gary Blumenthal, chief executive officer of World Perspectives Inc., an agricultural consultant in Washington. "The U.S. can export everything it wants."

The 2013 estimate for exports is 1.7 percent less than the February forecast, as lower commodity prices reduced values, the USDA said. Corn, the most valuable U.S. commodity, is down 19 percent this year on planting of what may be a record crop for the world’s biggest shipper of the grain. The Standard & Poor's GSCI Agricultural Spot Index is down 4.6 percent this year as global supplies increase after the 2012 U.S. drought, the worst since the 1930s.

China, Canada

The forecast for sales to China was raised from $22 billion in February. Canadian sales will be $21 billion, followed by Mexico at $18 billion.

Livestock, poultry and dairy exports will be $30.1 billion this year, up 5.1 percent from the 2012 fiscal year. Sales of pork, Smithfield's main product, will be $5 billion, down from $5.6 billion the previous year.

Fueled by export demand, U.S. net farm income may reach a record $128.2 billion in calendar year 2013, the USDA said in February. The department will update its farm-export forecast in August.

U.S. agricultural imports are projected to reach a record $111 billion, up 7.4 percent from the previous year and down 1.3 percent from February’s forecast.

The USDA predicts a trade surplus for the year of $28.5 billion, 3.4 percent lower than the February estimate and below the record $42.9 billion in 2011.

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U.S. farm exports will rise 2.7 percent to a record this year as soybean and livestock sales increase, the government forecast.
Thursday, 30 May 2013 05:38 PM
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