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USDA presents world cotton outlook for 2012/13
Feb '12
US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) world cotton outlook shows stocks rising in 2012/13 for the third consecutive season, largely as a result of continuing market and policy repercussions from the record cotton prices of early 2011.

World production for 2011/12 has reached a record 123 million bales, as output expanded in nearly all cotton-producing countries except the United States. At the same time, world consumption has fallen sharply—by 4 percent for the second consecutive season--due not only to macroeconomic uncertainties, but also to substantial shifts from cotton to polyester in textiles.

And perhaps most problematic for the 2012/13 projections, China's government has responded by supporting domestic prices well above world market-clearing levels, in an effort to create buffer stocks for protection from future price volatility. The China government-owned reserve is expected to hold about one-fourth of world stocks on July 31, 2012.

World production is projected to fall and consumption to rise in 2012/13, but supply is still expected to exceed demand, raising stocks further and pressuring prices. Early season projections are inherently uncertain due to the difficulty of predicting market and weather developments.

However, for 2012/13, these uncertainties are exacerbated by the unknowns associated with the further accumulation and/or release of reserve stocks by China. Since China's policies affecting the 2012/13 season have not been announced, this paper assumes a continuation of the current floor price, with reserve release as needed to rotate stocks and provide adequate supplies to mills in the pre-harvest periods of 2012 and 2013.

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US Department of Agriculture's (USDA)

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