In the February Agricultural Trade Outlook report from USDA, the department boosts its forecast for U.S. agricultural exports for fiscal 2014 to a record $142.6 billion. Anticipated demand for grain and feed exports account for most of the increase, with exports of livestock, poultry, and dairy products projected to be down $200 million to $31.6 billion. Beef and dairy, however, are the bright spots in the category with projected increases.

The report estimates U.S. agricultural imports for fiscal year 2014 at $110 billion, creating a positive trade balance of $32.6 billion, down somewhat from last-year’s surplus of $37.1 billion.

A growing global economy will help drive demand for U.S. agricultural products, according to the report, which project global economic growth of 3.2 percent in 2014, compared with 2.1 percent in 2013. In Asia, gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2014 is projected 4.9 percent, compared with 4.4 percent in 2013. The authors project global growth in trade at 5 percent for 2014 compared with 2.8 percent last year.

Other key points in the report include:

  • Corn export will increase by $1.2 billion to $8.6 billion with strong import demand from Mexico,
  • South Korea, and Europe offsetting lower sales to China.
  • Wheat exports are projected to increase $600 million to $7.8 billion on larger volume. Logistical issues in Canada and a restrictive export policy in Argentina are creating opportunities to expand U.S. exports.
  • Fiscal 2014 oilseed and product exports are forecast at $31.4 billion, up $2.6 billion from the December estimate, driven by record soybean and near-record soybean meal exports. The soybean export forecast is raised $1.8 billion to $21.7 billion as strong demand from China is resulting in higher prices.
  • For livestock, poultry, and dairy, USDA reduced its projections by $200 million from the previous report to $31.6 billion, with reductions to poultry, pork, and other livestock products outweighing gains to dairy and beef.
  • Beef exports are raised about $300 million to $5.3 billion on higher volumes. Despite tight supplies and elevated prices, continued expansion in Asia will bolster shipments.
  • Dairy exports are up $400 million to $6.3 billion as strong global demand continues to support high prices.
  • Although closed to beef export, China is the top market for U.S. ag products, with 2014 exports to China forecast at a record $25.0 billion. Expected demand for soybeans, dried distillers grains, sorghum, tree nuts, and dairy helped boost the export forecast.

View the full Agricultural Trade Outlook report from USDA.