Increased optimism about ag exports, but China questions remain

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Increased optimism about ag exports, but China questions remain

USDA’s chief economist says they’re more optimistic about the ag export picture for 2020.

Rob Johansson told attendees at the USDA’s Ag Outlook Forum ag exports are projected at $139.5 billion for this year, an increase of $4 billion from last year.  “China, we’re forecasting at $14 billion, for fiscal 2020,” he says.  “Up from $10 billion last year.”

Following Johansson’s presentation, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue was asked about the discrepancies between the USDA’s projected ag exports to China and the purchase commitments made in the Phase One trade agreement.

Perdue told reporters the Phase One deal was not included in USDA’s estimates.  “We expect to exceed that (USDA’s projection of $14 billion) certainly,” he says.  “But based on the WASDE report they had to put it out based on what they knew at that particular time.  Obviously, we had no idea about the coronavirus either.  So those kinds of estimates are estimates in the best way.”

Perdue and Johansson made their remarks at the 2020 Ag Outlook Forum in Washington, DC.

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