Shifts in global agriculture – The USA is facing a decline, while Brazil’s exports are rising

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Foodcom Experts
12.02.2024
 Shifts in global agriculture – The USA is facing a decline, while Brazil’s exports are rising
Summary
Table of contents
  • U.S. agricultural exports fell 10% to $191 billion in 2023, hitting a three-year low.
  • Brazil’s corn and soy exports surged by 29% to 158 million metric tons.
  • Record soybean meal shipments and increases in pork and ethanol exports were positive trends amidst the overall decline.

U.S. Agricultural exports decline amid global competition and supply surges

In 2023, U.S. exports of agricultural and related products fell 10% to $191 billion, marking a three-year low, which was particularly highlighted by a 10-year volume low for bulk commodities such as soybeans, corn, wheat, and cotton. This downturn in both commodity prices and shipment volumes mirrors heightened competition and a supply surge from rival exporting countries, notably Brazil. Brazil’s corn and soy shipments in 2023 soared by 29% to nearly 158 million metric tons, contrasting sharply with the U.S., where such exports declined by 18% to a four-year low of 94 million tons.

Competition and market dynamics

This trend underscores the stiff competition U.S. exporters face, especially in China, where the share of U.S. soybean shipments in December plummeted to its lowest outside of the 2018 trade war period since 2002. The broader context reveals that despite the agricultural sector’s downturn, overall U.S. exports, including goods and services, edged up by 1% in 2023 to a new record of $3.05 trillion. However, the agricultural sector’s share of total U.S. exports dipped to a four-year low of 6.2%, reflecting a shift in export dynamics amidst global market challenges.

Price trends and market highlights

The decline in U.S. agricultural exports was not uniform across all commodities. While bulk commodity values dropped by 22%, there were silver linings, such as record soybean meal shipments of 14.1 million tons, indicating some resilience and adaptability in specific segments. Furthermore, pork and ethanol exports saw increases, highlighting areas of growth despite the broader trend of decline. Key markets for U.S. agricultural exports in 2023 remained Canada, China, and Mexico, with Mexico claiming a record 15.6% share of the year’s exports, underscoring the evolving landscape of U.S. agricultural trade.

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