WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Floyd Gaibler, Acting Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, today announced that fiscal year 2007 agricultural exports are forecast at a record $77 billion, up $5 billion from the August forecast, and $8.3 billion from the final fiscal year 2006 total.

"Improvements in several sectors led to the increase in the forecast," said Gaibler. "If realized, this would be our second highest increase ever. Canada, Mexico and Japan remain the top three markets for U.S. agricultural exports, but China replaces the 25 member countries of the European Union as the fourth largest market for U.S. agricultural exports largely due to sales prospects for soybeans."

The forecast for corn exports was raised $2.1 billion since August to a near-record $8.9 billion due to higher prices as the result of continued strong demand and tightening domestic supply. Domestic use for ethanol and overseas demand for feed remains strong.

The forecast for the oilseed complex was increased $1.3 billion to $12.4 billion. Soybean export numbers were raised $900 million and soybean meal and oil were also increased. The improved outlook for the soybean complex reflects higher prices, record crushing, slower production growth in South America, a record U.S. crop and strong demand from China.

The forecast for livestock products was also increased $800 million to $14.2 billion. Increased beef exports to Mexico, Canada and some Asian markets, along with strong demand for pork and hides and skins contributed to the expected increase.

The forecast for wheat exports was raised $340 million to $4.9 billion due to tighter world supply and reduced competition from Australia.

The forecast for imports is also raised by $500 million from the August forecast to a record $69 billion. This would result in a trade surplus of $8 billion for fiscal 2007.

SOURCE: USDA news release.