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USDA lowers 2016 agri import and export values

The currently projected $9.7bn US agri-trade surplus is still far below the $25.7bn seen in 2015.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has lowered its February valuation projections for overall agricultural imports to the country to $114.8 billion, still an all-time record.

The projected $9.7 billion overall US agricultural trade surplus remains far below the $25.7 billion one seen in 2015.

Falling prices for tropical goods like rubber, as well as lower-than-expected demand for coffee, drove down dollar expectations for sugar and tropical imports by $3.5 billion. Slight increases in horticultural, dairy, poultry and other meat imports will not make up for losses in the sugar and tropical goods. In total, the decrease in agricultural imports will represent $3.7 billion.

Exports are also expected fall below the USDA’s February projections by roughly $500 million to $27.7 billion. Horticultural, cotton, meat and dairy exports will all fall, according to the report.

Lower tree nut prices have driven down export value projections by $1 billion to $8 billion, pushing US horticultural export projections down to $33.5 billion, the first year-over-year decline for the sector since 2009.

Livestock, dairy and poultry export values have also been hurt by lower prices, with global dairy production still increasing. Overall, livestock, poultry and dairy export projections have fallen in value by $300 million to $25.4 billion.

Pork export projections, however, were boosted by higher volumes and prices, and increased in value to $4.6 billion since their $4.4 million forecast value in February. US grain and oilseed exports have also slightly exceeded February projections, due to slightly higher prices arising from lower-than-expected production in Brazil and Argentina.