Trade deficit projected to grow as USDA lowers the value of ag exports
University of Missouri ag economist Scott Brown says in its latest Trade Outlook, the USDA projects a significant decline in export values while raising the value of imports. “We’re going to import $198 billion and exports of $181 billion,” he says. “We went from Fiscal Year 2022 being net positive to $2.4 billion to now being net-negative $17 billion, importing more in value than we’re exporting. All of that is not great for us.”
Brown says he continues to monitor the global economic situation. “What’s demand in the rest of the world looking like,” he says. “What does economic growth in the rest of the world look like? If you look a the numbers here, suddenly it looks like we’re the best home for some ag products, where we wouldn’t have been as much that leader especially if you go back to Fiscal Year 2020.”
He tells Brownfield the ag sector also needs to monitor its biggest competitors on the global market. “I think right now all of this is telling us our competition in the rest of the world on the supply side is getting better,” he says. “And is demand is also weaker for products moving outside of the United States.”
The USDA lowered its projected ag export values by $15.4 billion for Fiscal Year 2023. Current projections are down $3.5 billion from the February forecasts, including declines in livestock, poultry, and dairy export values of $1.2 billion.