The trade balance just barely stayed in favor of U.S. agricultural exports in January 2005. USDA's Economic Research Service reports in it's latest Agricultural Trade Update that the United States exported just over $5 billion in ag products in January while importing $4.7 billion.
The $325 million surplus is 60% lower than January 2004 figures. In addition, when looking at the first four months of fiscal year 2005, ag exports are valued at $22.3 billion compared with $23.5 billion in 2004. ERS says the drop is due to record global crop supplies and lower prices.
"The value of dairy product exports has increased by 67% from 2004 and vegetable oils have risen by 22%," the update reports. "In contrast, red meat, other feed grain, and cotton values have all declined more than 20% during this period."
With a weaker U.S. dollar, import values are up $2 billion so for this fiscal year compared with 2004. Author Nora Brooks explains that "increases in fruit juice and nut imports continue unabatedâ€”up 23% compared with 2004. Dairy products, oilseeds, coffee, and rubber are all more than 20% higher than the first 4 months of last fiscal year."