U.S. Ag Exports ‘Struggling’

Dan Exports/Imports, Trade

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A drop in U.S. exports to China shows up significantly in the latest trade forecast from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Generally speaking, our exports are struggling,” said USDA’s chief economist Seth Meyer. Exports are down $8.2 billion from last year at $170.5 billion this year.

“So, unchanged for the new forecast for 2024. But we’re still down pretty sharply from the prior year. On the import side, there actually was an upward revision of imports of 1.5 billion dollars. And that’s up from 195.4 billion the prior year,” he said. “So, you’re talking about a $7.1 billion increase in imports year over year and a $8.2 billion decline in exports.”

Meyer explained that it’s not just the amount of exports and imports that have affected these numbers, but also the value.


“It’s the unit value. So, the price of imported goods has been rising. It’s not necessarily a volume issue, but that’s at least part of the story,” he explained. “The values of agricultural imports are rising and then alternatively, export values continue to fall.”

As for the decline in our ag exports, Meyer says China played a big role. It’s now buying less corn and soybeans from the U.S. and more from Brazil.

“I think the interesting headline story from this is China falls to our #3 trading partner and we’re seeing a lot of competition with Brazil into that Chinese market and that is what is driving our bulk export values,” he said. USDA has not lowered the forecast for ag exports but has increased the projection for ag imports.

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Sabrina Halvorson
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.

Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.