Farm export forecast: Still cloudy

 

By Ryan McCrimmon, POLITICO

10/07/2019

 

With harvesting underway, farmers are once again facing complications from Trumpís trade war: Agricultural sales remain sharply down and soybean stockpiles have more than doubled since last year. But recently there have been a few signs of modest improvement in the export landscape.

 

The big picture: Agricultural exports in fiscal 2019 through August totaled $125 billion, a $7.8 billion or 6 percent decline from the same period in fiscal 2018. Sales to China over that period were down $6.7 billion, or 42 percent, representing the bulk of the overall decline, according to Commerce Department data released Friday.

 

The Agriculture Department also reported last week that soybean stocks have surged 108 percent from a year ago, reaching record-high levels (though still smaller than commodity markets predicted).

 

Still, there are some positive signs for producers and traders. Soybean prices have rallied since China restarted buying the oilseed from U.S. growers. In the last two weeks, Chinese customers have made some of their biggest purchases of soybeans in more than a year, The Wall Street Journal reports.

 

Pork exports to China have also soared over the summer, with July and August marking the highest monthly totals on record. Thatís because African swine fever has decimated Chinese hog herds and forced the country to ramp up imports to meet consumer demand.

 

Trade talks on tap: Farmers, ranchers and other industries will be looking for any good news when Beijingís top trade officials visit Washington later this week for a new round of negotiations.

 

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Thereís still plenty of skepticism among ag interests ...

 

Farm-state Democrats ...

 

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more, including links

https://www.politico.com/newsletters/morning-agriculture/2019/10/07/farm-export-forecast-still-cloudy-773261