Economic Tidbits

Will the Streak Continue?

Joe Dimaggio’s consecutive game hitting streak lasted 56 games. Cal Ripken’s consecutive games played streak lasted 2,632 games. U.S. agriculture has run a trade surplus with the rest-of-the-world for 60 years. Dimaggio’s and Ripken’s streaks eventually came to an end. Will U.S. agriculture’s streak end at 60 years?

Through the first three quarters of this year, the U.S. ran an agricultural trade deficit of $2.0 billion. U.S. exports of agricultural goods were off 0.78 percent, or $.776 billion compared to last year; imports were up 2.3 percent, or $2.28 billion. The same pattern occurred in 2019. Through July, it looked like the U.S.’s 59-year streak of surpluses in agricultural trade might be broken. However, export sales rallied, and the U.S. posted a surplus of $5.7 billion to continue the streak.

Is there a repeat in the offing this year? Will U.S. exports get the 2-out hit? Export sales have been brisk in recent weeks fueled by Chinese purchases of corn, soybeans, pork, and sorghum. Will it be enough to overcome the deficit before the nine innings ends? Or, will exports play the role of Casey? Strike out and bring no joy to Mudville in 2020.

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