The Department of Agriculture projects the U.S. agricultural trade balance to fall to the lowest level since 2006 this year.
USDA’s Economic Research Service projects exports at $134.5 billion for Fiscal Year 2019, and imports at $129.3 billion, leaving a $5.2 billion surplus, the lowest in 13 years.
Unlike overall U.S. trade in goods and services, U.S. trade in the agricultural sector consistently runs at a surplus. Although agricultural exports have increased in value since 2016, the value of imports has risen at a slightly faster rate, leading to a declining trade balance.
Compared to the previous outlook in May 2019, exports were revised down by $2.5 billion primarily due to lowered expectations for corn and soybean exports. Imports were raised by $0.3 billion due in part to an increase in the expected value of horticultural imports, such as fruits and vegetables.
Initial projections for fiscal year 2020 suggest a small recovery in the agricultural trade balance to $8.0 billion.