USDA raises ag imports forecast

Meat& Poultry, Dec. 5, 2017 - by Eric Schroeder

WASHINGTON – US agricultural imports are forecast to climb to $117 billion in fiscal 2018, according to a Nov. 30 report from the Economic Research Service of the US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA). The projection is up $1.5 billion from the USDA’s forecast in August but down from $119.1 billion in fiscal 2017.

The USDA said the increase from the August forecast primarily reflects expected gains in imports of animal products.

US grain and feed imports for the 2018 fiscal year are forecast at $11.3 billion, up $200 million from the August forecast, due to projected increases in US demand for rice and higher expected prices for high protein wheat, the USDA said. Total oilseeds and products imports for fiscal 2018 are expected to remain unchanged, the USDA said.

Regionally, the Western Hemisphere remains the top import market for the United States at $65.3 billion, up from $64.1 billion forecast in August and compared with $66 billion in fiscal 2017.

“Mexico is expected to remain the largest supplier of agricultural goods, followed by Canada,” the USDA said. “Mexico’s projected sales total is now $23.6 billion, $500 million above the August forecast, due to increases in expected imports of fresh fruits, tree nuts, and cattle that more than offset slightly lower supplies of fresh vegetables. The value of Canadian agricultural products sold to the United States is expected to increase by $600 million to $22.4 billion, due to upward adjustments to US imports of livestock and meats as well as bulk grains such as wheat.”

US agricultural imports from Europe and Eurasia are forecast at $22.8 billion in fiscal 2018, unchanged from August and virtually unchanged from fiscal 2017. Meanwhile, imports from Asia are now forecast at $18.7 billion, up $200 million from the August projection, while imports from Oceania were raised to $5.6 billion from $5.4 billion, the USDA said.