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USDA cuts U.S. ag export forecast amid weaker soybean demand

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cut its U.S. farm exports forecast for next year on Tuesday, citing weaker soybean demand from China and lower bean prices.

USDA’s Economic Research Service said it now expects U.S. agricultural exports to hit $175.5 billion in fiscal year 2022, down $2.0 billion from its August forecast.

The agency said soybean exports were expected to be down $3.9 billion, to $28.4 billion, while soybean meal exports were forecast to slump $800 million to $4.9 billion due to lower prices. The fiscal year started on Oct. 1, 2021.

The news comes as China’s October soybean imports from the United States have declined sharply this fall during what is normally a boom time, amid poor crush margins and intense price competition from Brazilian beans.

U.S. grain exports also slumped earlier this fall, as shippers struggled to restart loading operations along the Louisiana Gulf Coast after Hurricane Ida damaged grain terminals and knocked out power across the region.

China is expected to remain the largest U.S. agricultural market, the agency said. Agricultural exports to China are expected to be $36.0 billion, a $3.0 billion drop from USDA’s August projection — but still a record amount, USDA said.

The cooling of soybean exports is expected to be partially offset by increases in livestock, poultry, dairy, cotton, and ethanol exports, USDA said.

“Grain and feed exports are also revised down by $300 million to $41.5 billion, with corn, sorghum, and rice exports each down $100 million,” USDA said on its website.

Wheat exports are expected to remain steady from the previous forecast at $7.1 billion.
Source: Reuters (Reporting By P.J. Huffstutter in Chicago Editing by Chris Reese)

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