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Indian spinning mills increase cotton imports
Aug '12
Spinning mills in India have significantly increased their import of cotton, especially long staple variety from African nations, during the past one month. This sudden rise in imports is believed to be because of the relatively lower international rates and delayed supply of domestic cotton. 
The Secretary General of the Southern India Mills Association (SIMA), Dr. K Selvaraju, informed Fibre2fashion, “Cotton imports have picked up not only in south but also in the northern part of India. This year the Cotton Advisory Board (CAB) had estimated the mill consumption of cotton to be 23.2 million bales of 170 kg each and earmarked 11.5 million bales for exports, as against the original quantity of 8.4 million bales.”
Explaining the expected shortage of cotton supply, which might arise due to over consumption, he says, “We had indicated to the CAB that our cotton consumption would exceed 24.5 million bales, which is around 2 million bales per month. If the consumption goes higher then there will be a shortage of at least 1.3 million bales.”
“Besides, the export volumes are expected to touch 13.5 million, so here again there is an excess of 2 million bales, thus there would be an excess consumption of 3.3 million bales. It might mean that India will end up with negative cotton stocks for the first time in the history,” he adds.
The Secretary General further mentions that though the cotton season begins in October, the supply will start arriving only by mid-November and here too the quantity is expected to be very less this time. “Therefore the spinning mills have no choice but to import cotton,” he says.
When inquired about the quality of cotton produced in India, he avers, “At least 3 to 4 million bales of cotton, out of the total production, are of below average quality and are not suitable for exports or high-end markets. Hence the mills will have to import cotton from outside.” 
Dr. Selvaraju expects that around 2 million bales of cotton would be imported by the spinning mills this season. The African region and the nations that grow long staple cotton are the main suppliers of cotton to India. The easy availability of cotton worldwide and the comparatively cheaper rates work in favour of importers.
Stressing on the need to have a consistent cotton export policy, he quips, “The Government should not have interfered with the export of cotton by making constant policy changes. This has created unnecessary panic and affected the image of the country. We need to have a consistent cotton export policy. We have also been demanding the implementation of the ‘National Fibre Policy’ since 2008.”

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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