U.S. ag trade surplus up significantly

WASHINGTON – During the first half of FY 2001 the surplus in U.S. agricultural trade grew to $9.4 billion, almost $2 billion more than in the same period last year, according to the latest U.S. Agricultural Trade Update, produced by the USDA’s Economic Research Service.

Year-to-date exports of $32.4 billion are $1.8 billion higher than they were during the same time period last year, due primarily to $1.5 billion more in shipments of high-value products.

Meanwhile, cumulative imports slipped by $29 million compared with 2000.

What’s hot.

U.S. exports of high-value products to date are almost $21 billion, primarily attributed to significant growth of livestock products, mainly hides and skins.

Shipments of horticultural products also are up, as are live animals and feeds and fodders. Among the horticulture exports, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and sugar and tropical products showed increases, despite a strong dollar exchange rate.

Bulk commodities.

A $265-million gain to date in bulk commodity exports is due to higher year-to-date soybean shipments. Soybean exports now equal $4.1 billion and 21.5 million tons, up $400 million and 2.5 million tons from 2000.

Shipments to China are up by 2.5 million tons, an 89 percent gain from last year.

Shipments of corn, rice, and tobacco have slightly decreased.

However, bulk export volume increased by a cumulative 1.2 million tons from 2000, helped in part by additional shipments of wheat in April 2001.

Year-to-date wheat exports of $1.9 billion are $115 million higher than in the same part of 2000, corresponding to 439,000 additional tons shipped.

U.S. corn exports have fallen in both value and volume.

Imports down slightly.

The figures showed a slight decline to date in U.S. agricultural imports to $23 billion. This was mainly due to a sharp drop in coffee purchases, down 41 percent in value from 2000, with volume from 2000 down 16 percent.

Cocoa and rubber imports were also down in both value and volume.

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