The final numbers for the 2018-2019 marketing year are in, showing overall exports of U.S. grain in all forms ranks as the third best export year of all time, despite declining 11 percent from last year’s all-time high to 106 million metric tons, equivalent to 4.17 billion bushels, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and analysis by the U.S. Grains Council.
“Unfortunately, the weakness we first observed in February – particularly for corn – accelerated sharply in the final three months,” said Ryan LeGrand, USGC president and chief executive officer. “The increasingly disruptive trade dispute with China, weakening global economic growth, stronger export competition from South America and a U.S. dollar which continues to rise in value, all hurt U.S. competitiveness.”
Decreased exports were particularly pronounced for U.S. corn and sorghum. Together, the declines for these two commodities represented 92 percent of the overall 13.3 million ton reduction in GIAF exports in 2018/2019. While export declines were fairly widespread over all 10 product sectors the Council tracks (view the full list here), other categories did not suffer as much as corn and sorghum. The best performance was in pork, beef and poultry exports, which collectively showed a slight gain, reaching 23 million tons (905 million bushels) in corn equivalent, and together represented 21 percent of the GIAF total.
One bright spot was GIAF exports to Mexico, which increased two percent to squeak out a new record high of 25.6 million tons (one billion bushels). This success, however, was overshadowed by the dramatic 81 percent decline in exports to China since 2015/2016, with shipments totaling just 2.7 million tons (106 million bushels) in the 2018/2019 marketing year.
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