The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Thursday lowered its forecast on agricultural exports at 131 billion dollars in fiscal year 2012, the second highest only to the previous year.
The decline reflected "record global crop production which has weakened prices and export volumes," said Joseph Glauber, chief economist of the USDA, at a forum commemorating its 150th anniversary.
The U.S. farm exports reached 137.4 billion dollars in the 2011 fiscal year ending September, 22.5 billion dollars higher than past highs.
The record figure was expected to be constrained in 2012 by record world crop production with 692.9 million tons of wheat, 462.8 million tons of rice and 123.3 million tons of cotton, showed the USDA data.
The U.S. agriculture remains strong and a driving force behind export growth, job creation, and the nation's competitiveness, underscored by the increasing demand for U.S. food and agriculture around the world, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a keynote speech at the Agricultural Outlook Forum.
China was the largest destination for U.S. agricultural exports in the last fiscal year. But this year export to China is expected to fall by 15 percent due to concentration of trade in bulk commodities like soybeans and cotton, noted Glauber.
In 2012 China import demand would still account for over 60 percent of total world soybean imports and over 50 percent of world cotton imports, added Glauber.
The USDA also projected food prices to moderate with inflation rates for all food to be between 2.5 and 3.5 percent for 2012.