Fiscal 2011 agricultural exports are forecast at a record $126.5 billion, up $13.5 billion from the August forecast and $17.8 billion above final 2010 exports. Exports are forecast to exceed the previous record set in 2008 by more than $11.5 billion. Sharply higher unit values for leading export commodities account for most of the forecast
increase in value.

Soybean exports are forecast up more than $5 billion from the August forecast due to higher unit vales along with strong demand from key markets such as China. Grains are
up nearly $4 billion due mostly to higher corn and wheat export unit values. Wheat exports are also expected to benefit from reduced export competition. Cotton exports are forecast up $2 billion mostly on higher unit values as U.S. and global stocks tighten. Beef exports are forecast up on strong Asian demand while horticultural exports are expected down slightly. Asia accounts for more than half of the increased forecast, with China up more than any other market ($2.5 billion) to $17.5 billion and only half a
billion less than the top market of Canada.

The import forecast for 2011 is moved up to $85.5 billion, an 8.2-percent increase over 2010. Consumer spending for food and beverages has climbed recently, as has disposable personal income. The projected import growth in 2011 reflects about 2-3 percent volume gain and 6 percent increase in import unit values. Major commodities inflating the U.S. import bill include coffee beans, cocoa beans, coconut oil, palm oil, rubber, and sugar.

Source: ERS/USDA