Economic Tidbits

Value of Exports Continues to Slide

The value of U.S. agricultural exports was off 4 percent through the end of March compared to the first quarter of last year. The drop in value continues the slide begun last year. The value of exports last year was down 11 percent. Figure 4 shows the annual percentage changes in the value of various U.S. agricultural exports for 2020-2023 along with year-to-date figures for this year. Among key Nebraska exports, only the export value of red meat saw growth in the first quarter compared to the same period last year, up 7 percent. Sales of pork were up 7 percent and beef sales were up 6 percent, mostly due to higher prices. Otherwise, the value of soybean exports was down 29 percent during the first quarter, wheat was off 18 percent, animal feeds and oil meal exports were off 4 percent, and corn exports were down 1 percent. A positive for the first quarter, the volume of wheat and corn shipped overseas was greater than last year. Perhaps lower prices stimulated purchases but not enough to increase revenues compared to last year. Look for more tough sledding for the remainder of the year. A strong dollar, strong competition particularly from South America, and geopolitics make growth in trade problematic.

FIGURE 4. CHANGES IN THE VALUE OF U.S. AGRICULTURAL EXPORTS, 2019-2023 YTD

Source: Nebraska Agriculture and International Trade, Nebraska Farm Bureau

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