Canada to Become Top US Export Market


by Chris Clayton, DTN Ag Policy Editor

OMAHA (DTN) — Drought won't slow USDA forecasts for record exports for next year with higher crop values translating into higher dollar values on exports.

USDA's August outlook report for agricultural trade projects 2013 fiscal-year exports will top $143.5 billion, about $6.1 billion higher than 2011's record exports of $137.4 billion.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack used Thursday's report to note agricultural exports have increased 50{6b02cb02835b82b7f756ddf6717aaab7139b350de274ea97f5b53eb230607107} since 2009. Vilsack put in a plug for his boss, President Barack Obama, who has made a push to double exports by 2014 nationally.

“Today's export forecast marks indication of an historic achievement for America's farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses,” Vilsack said in a statement. “Even with tough odds due to extreme weather, U.S. agriculture is now poised for three consecutive years of record exports, smashing all previous records and putting America's agricultural sector on pace to achieve President Obama's goal under the National Export Initiative of doubling exports by the end of 2014. These exports will support more than 1 million jobs in communities across the country.”

Prices will factor into a shift in top export markets over the next year, the USDA report states. China, with a record $21 billion in purchased U.S. ag products in 2012, will dip about $500 million lower in 2013, USDA estimates.

The expected dip in Chinese imports would move Canada back into the top U.S. market for agricultural goods in 2013 at $21 billion, about $1 billion higher than Canada's imports of U.S. agricultural goods this year.

Canada remains the top exporter of agricultural goods to the U.S. with an estimated $21 billion in 2012 and an estimated $23.1 billion in 2013.

Mexico is forecast to buy $19 billion in U.S. goods in fiscal 2013, the same level of purchases as 2012.

While 2012 won't eclipse last year's figures, USDA also pegged this fiscal year's exports at $136.5 billion, which would make this year the second-highest in history.

The driving factor in higher export value remains the rising costs of grain commodities as well as horticulture products. Wheat, corn and oil seed prices all add to the higher overall export value even though cotton prices are forecast to be down. Meat exports also are projected to take a small hit in the coming year.

“Exports of livestock, poultry and dairy products are forecast marginally lower as declines in dairy, pork and poultry outweigh growth in beef,” USDA stated.

While the value of exports rises, so does the value of imports. Agricultural imports are expected to hit a record high of $106.5 billion in fiscal 2012 and rise to $117 billion in 2013. To put that into perspective, 2011 agricultural imports were $94.5 billion, which also was a record high.

Thus, agriculture's trade balance will narrow from a record positive balance in 2011 of $42.9 billion, down to about a $30 billion net trade balance this year.

For individual sectors, grain and feed exports have dipped in 2012 from last year's $37.98 billion by about $3.3 billion but will rebound in fiscal-year 2013 to hit an estimated $39 billion.

Livestock, poultry and dairy products will hit $30.1 billion in 2012, but are projected to decline slightly to $29.9 billion in 2013.

Horticulture products remain strong drivers of growth, rising $2.6 billion in 2012 from last year's $25.9 billion. By 2013, horticulture exports are expected to jump to $32 billion.

A fiscal year begins Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30.

For a full copy of the Agricultural Trade Outlook report, go to


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Posted with DTN Permission by Haylie Shipp


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