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USDA Ag Outlook Forum Calls for a Return to “Normal” Trade in 2020

The USDA’s top economist predicted agricultural trade will return to normal this year. 

USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansson says farm exports to China will rise from $10 billion last year to $14 billion in 2020. 

That “slight” $4 billion jump doesn’t quite add up to the $40 billion in U.S. ag products that China committed to import from the U.S. under the Phase One trade deal. 

Johansson says the forecast “reflects public information that’s available right now on phase one.” 

Later, he added that the calendar year predictions don’t completely include the phase one commitments. 

However, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says that China’s import commitments were not included in Johansson’s estimates. 

“We expect to exceed that, certainly,” Perdue told reporters. 

An Agri-Pulse report says Johansson noted that improved exports this year should help farmers’ bottom lines in 2020, while lower interest rates would reduce borrowing costs and strengthen land values. 

USDA is projecting a corn price at $3.60 a bushel this year, down four percent from last year. 

The price of soybeans is expected to be $8.80 a bushel, one percent higher last year. 

Wheat prices are predicted to average $4.90 a bushel, up eight percent from 2019.

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