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Soybean slump deepens US ag trade gap

Soybean slump deepens US ag trade gap

By Jamie Martin

The United States agriculture sector faces a growing trade deficit, exacerbated by a sharp decline in soybean exports, particularly to China.

According to USDA economist James Kaufman, agricultural exports in May totaled $13.7 billion, down nearly 2% from last year, with total exports for fiscal year 2024 at $122.4 billion—5% lower than the previous year.

The U.S. has experienced a 4% increase in agricultural imports due to a strong domestic economy and a robust dollar, making imports more affordable. The agricultural trade deficit currently stands at $15 billion, with major bulk commodities seeing an 18% decline.

Soybeans have been hit hardest, with exports to China dropping by 23%, from 30.5 million metric tons last year to 23.4 million metric tons this year.

Brazil's competitive pricing and large supply have shifted Chinese preferences away from U.S. soybeans, leading to a 19% decrease in total U.S. soybean exports for the season.

This trend poses significant challenges for U.S. soybean growers, impacting overall agricultural trade balances and underscoring the need for strategic adjustments in the U.S. agricultural export strategy.

Photo Credit: usda

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