U.S. Farm Exports May Reach Record on Surging Prices

Oct. 13 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. farm exports may surpass a 2008 record of $115.3 billion on surging corn, soybean and wheat prices, according to Joe Glauber, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief economist.

Exports may exceed the August forecast of $113 billion for the year that began Oct. 1, Glauber said today in a telephone interview.

“We very well could exceed the record if prices increase by enough,” Glauber said. Rising prices shouldn’t deter foreign buyers enough to reduce exports significantly because of high demand for U.S. goods, he said. “We’re the only game in town” for wheat, after Russia halted exports following a drought, he said.

Corn, wheat and soybeans traded in Chicago have surged since June as a weaker dollar made U.S. crops more attractive to overseas buyers and on USDA forecasts for smaller supplies.

Through yesterday, corn gained 61 percent from the end of May, soybeans climbed 26 percent and wheat was up 55 percent. The dollar during that period dropped 11 percent against a basket of six competing currencies.

Rising trade will contribute to a projected 24 percent gain in net farm income this calendar year to $77.1 billion, the USDA said in a report in August. The department will update its forecast for agricultural trade in November.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Bjerga in Washington at abjerga@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net