China will purchase $14 billion of U.S. ag products this year, $3 billion higher than forecast before the interim agreement was inked, stated USDA Chief Economist Rob Johansson Thursday.
Johansson offered few details of the estimate, the first by USDA concerning the results of the agreement, which requires China to buy $40 billion a year of U.S. food, agricultural, and seafood products this year and next year.
The USDA updates its forecast of agriculture exports this fiscal year to $139.5 billion, a $500 million increase from its November assessment and up by $4 billion from fiscal last year.
Johansson stated USDA tasks plantings this year of 94 million acres of corn, 85 million acres of soybeans, 45 million acres of wheat, 12.5 million acres of upland cotton, and 3.1 million acres of rice.
The soy, cotton, and rice figures are higher than previously proposed by USDA, and the corn figure is 500,000 acres lower.
Soybean prices will grow modestly for this year’s crop, stated Johansson, “under the expectation of a return to normal trade with our leading trading partners.”
The USDA projects file meat and dairy manufacturing this year.
Before the Sino-U.S. trade conflict, China was the largest buyer for U.S. agriculture exports, with purchases of nearly $21 billion a year.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue stated he anticipated Chinese purchases would “start…increase in the spring” when asked about the difference between the new USDA estimate and the Sino-US agreement. “We do believe those numbers might be surpassed,” Johansson stated the $14 billion projection was based on published descriptions of the contract.