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Farm Trade Surplus Shrinking to 10-Year Low on Imports

Hoosier Ag Today by: Gary Truitt

The surplus in agricultural trade will tumble 63 percent to the lowest in a decade, according to a report by Bloomberg. That’s because of lower commodity prices and a stronger dollar that reduces the competitiveness of the country’s exports. In the 12 months ending September 30th, U.S. shipments of grain, soybeans, cotton, meat and other farm products will fall 5.9 percent to $131.5 billion amid “strong competition” from global producers and weaker Chinese demand.

USDA reported that U.S. agricultural imports will climb seven percent to a record $122 billion. That puts the surplus at $9.5 billion, the lowest since 2006. The August forecast was $16 billion. A Bloomberg gauge of agriculture prices in August touched the lowest since 2008 amid global gluts of everything from grains to milk. Meanwhile, ample supplies will cut world food import costs to a five-year low. The U.S. is the world’s top exporter of corn, wheat and cotton, and farm income in 2015 was forecast to drop 38 percent to a 13-year low.

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