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USDA raises 2008 ag export projection

USDA has released revised export forecasts. Fiscal 2008 agricultural exports are raised $5.5 billion from May's forecast to a record $114 billion. Supported by stronger demand, wheat rises $1.3 billion and soybeans and products rise $1.8 billion on higher volumes and unit values. Bulk commodity export volume is forecast at a record 139 million tons. Animal products jump $1.4 billion supported by increases for pork and dairy products. Fiscal 2008 imports are forecast at $79 billion, resulting in a record high agricultural trade surplus of $35 billion.

Fiscal 2009 agricultural exports are forecast at $113 billion, down $1 billion from the revised 2008 estimate. Lower grain exports are offset by gains for all other product categories, which reach record highs. As foreign wheat production recovers, greater competition lowers U.S. wheat exports by $3.6 billion. A large increase in feed-quality wheat supply also replaces U.S. corn in some markets. World grain demand remains strong, and global markets are tight with little stock rebuilding. U.S. soybean exports fall 4 million tons due to reduced soybean supply, but strong demand and tight markets raise value. Supported by large stocks, cotton exports rise $1.1 billion. Strong demand and competitive prices support gains for horticultural and animal product exports.

Fiscal 2009 agricultural imports are forecast at a record $83 billion, up $4 billion from the revised 2008 estimate, but the slowest growth rate in many years. Import growth for horticultural and tropical products is expected to remain moderate, accounting for three-fourths of the increase.

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