U.S. fresh produce exports roll on; how long can party last?

09/06/2011 10:07:00 AM
Tom Karst

U.S. exports of fresh produce items continue to surge. The low value of the U.S. dollar has helped considerably. Here is a commodity-specific chart detailing world export totals for a wide range for fruit and vegetables.

Some highlights:

  • Apple exports are up 17% for the January through June period compared to a year ago
  • Orange and tangerine exports are up 24% in the first six months of 2011 compared to a year ago
  • Berries, lettuce, tomatoes and potatoes also show double digit gains in value compared with a year ago

 

Here is the recent USDA ERS report on the outlook for agricultural trade. From that report:

Fresh fruit and vegetable exports are forecast at a record $6.9 billion, up $400 million. Exports to Canada, Europe and Japan are expected to continue expanding.

Meanwhile, here is a spreadsheet showing fruit and vegetable imports.  Though grapes and avocados showed declines in volume in 2010, imports of most fruits and vegetables seem to be increasing at a faster pace than exports.

This chart shows how the dollar has declined against the Japanese yen in the past five years. While the low dollar has worked in favor of U.S. exports, I wonder how long this scenario can last.

Evidently, the professionals believe it can last for some time. A recent survey of hedge fund managers found that more remain bearish on the greenback than bullish.



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