We should take USDA’s new trade forecast with a grain of salt

USDA economists warn their trade forecast for 2023 is not set in stone and a lot could still change.

The forecast shows ag exports are falling below this year’s numbers by $2.5 billion with imports up about $5 billion. It is a trade deficit of $3.4 billion, but USDA Chief Economist Seth Meyer says the year does not technically begin until October and a solid forecast is nearly impossible due to ongoing uncertainty.

“We’ve got a continued war in Ukraine, we’ve got tight agricultural markets, we’ve got maybe under-trend crops in a few places in the world. I think we’ve got concerns, but not certain about an economic contraction. Certainly, some of the folks who forecast GDP have been ratcheting down their global GDP growth. That could impact demand,” said Meyer.

Ag exports set records this year, bringing in more than $196 billion.


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