U.S. ag exports continue to slow while ag imports continue to grow. USDA has complete trade numbers for the first eight months of this fiscal year, October through May.

“Agricultural exports in May were at $13.7 billion, down almost 2% from the previous May,” says USDA economist James Kaufman. “This puts U.S. exports for fiscal year 2024 at $122.4 billion- 5% or $6 billion lower than the same period in fiscal 2023.”

Meanwhile, Kaufman points out we’re importing more ag products, 4% more than at this time a year ago.

“Import growth has been spurred by a relatively strong U.S. economy and a strong dollar which makes imports less expensive.”

Kaufman says, so far this year, we’re running a $15 billion ag trade deficit with the rest of the world as major bulk commodities are down 18%.

“The main problem is soybean exports, and especially soybean exports to China,” Kaufman says. “This year, the U.S. exported 23.4 million metric tons, as opposed to 30.5 million metric tons the previous year. This is a 23% decrease in soybean export volumes to China.”

Kauffman says China is still importing soybeans, just not from us. As you can imagine, those soybeans are coming mostly from Brazil which has a huge supply and competitive prices. Total U.S. soybean exports to the world so far this season are down 19%.

Source: USDA Radio Newsline