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Wheat Shipments Keeping Pace, Corn Volumes Slightly Ahead in Trade Picture

Year-to-date export values of cotton, corn, fruit juice, and nuts are all substantially higher than last year.

The value of U.S. agricultural exports fell by 4% from May to June, with bulk products declining more than high-value products. The value of U.S. agricultural imports fell by 6% from May to June, according to USDA's latest trade update.

Fiscal-year-to-date exports are $52.3 billion - about $4.3 billion higher than the same period in fiscal 2005. Year-to-date export values of cotton, corn, fruit juice, and nuts are all substantially higher than last year.

Wheat shipments are keeping pace with the first 9 months of fiscal 2005 while corn volumes are slightly ahead of last year's pace. Cotton shipments rose in June with the largest increases going to Turkey, Mexico, and Indonesia. China continues to account for half of U.S. cotton shipments. China, Mexico, Japan, and the EU-25 account for three fourths of U.S. soybean shipments.

According to another UDSA report released August 11, the value of corn exports from October 2005 to June 2006 increased by 24% over the previous year - to more than $4.4 billion. In comparison, overall agricultural export value for the same period increased 9% compared to the previous year.

The volume of corn exports also rose 17% to 40.25 million metric tons (1.58 billion bushels) for the October-June period. Japan continues to lead the list of top U.S. corn customers, followed by Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan and Egypt.

"Of the approximately 6 million ton (236 million bushel) increase, South Korea led with a 2.65 million ton (104 million bushels) gain in imports of U.S. corn," notes Kevin Natz, U.S. Grains Council director of trade policy. "U.S. corn has benefited from less competition in South Korea when China withdrew from the export market earlier this year."

Imports are $48.4 billion so far in fiscal 2006, up $5 billion from this time during fiscal 2005. Although slowing from May to June, the import values of sugar, rubber, vegetable oils, and fresh and frozen vegetables are considerably higher compared with the first 9 months of fiscal 2005. Mexico supplies more than half of the value of fresh and frozen vegetables. Chile and Mexico supply half of the import value of fresh and frozen fruit.


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