The Department of Agriculture projects the fiscal year 2019 U.S. agricultural trade balance to fall to $5.2 billion.
USDA’s Economic Research Service projects exports at $134.5 billion, and imports at $129.3 billion, leaving a $5.2 billion surplus, the lowest since fiscal year 2006. 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, while imports were raised by $0.3 billion. The decline in expected export value was primarily due to lowered expectations for corn and soybean exports.
For imports, the increase in the forecast was 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.