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USDA: exports to decline in 2009

USDA has forecast 2009 U.S. agricultural exports at $98.5 billion, down $14.5 billion from August and $17 billion below record 2008 sales. The report combines information from the Economic Research Service and the Foreign Agricultural Service.

The outlook for U.S. exports has changed dramatically with the expectation of global recession in 2009. The combination of weaker global demand, falling prices, and an appreciating dollar create a very unfavorable outlook for U.S. exports.

Huge wheat supplies from Russia, the European Union, and Ukraine are increasing competition in grain markets. Grain and feed exports were lowered from August, and exports are now forecast $10 billion below record 2008 sales.

Soybeans and soybean products were reduced $2.2 billion since August. China’s demand for soybeans remains strong.

Cotton exports were lowered due to weak consumer demand for textiles. Animal product exports dropped $1.7 billion since August mostly due to reduced demand for pork, broilers, animal fats, and dairy products.

The forecast for horticultural products is lowered, but sales are still expected to increase from 2008.

Fiscal 2009 agricultural imports are lowered $2 billion from August but remain a record $81 billion. This reflects the slowest growth rate in many years. Despite the stronger dollar, and some relief from high oil prices, a slumping economy with rising unemployment and falling consumer spending is slowing import growth.

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