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Global cotton use to rebound marginally in 2012-13
Dec '12

The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cotton forecast for 2012/13 indicates that global cotton consumption is expected to rise 3 percent from last season’s 8-year low as the global economy experiences a slow recovery. This season’s projected increase follows 2 consecutive years of decline when cotton prices reached unprecedented levels.

At 106.5 million bales, 2012/13 world cotton consumption is 14 percent below the 2006/07 peak. China remains the world’s largest cotton spinner, but declines have occurred there over the last three seasons as raw cotton and labor costs increased and spinning shifted elsewhere.

In 2012/13, India and Pakistan are expected to see their mill use climb and largely offset the decline in China. Combined, these three spinners continue to account for the bulk of 2012/13 global consumption, with a share forecast at 65 percent of the total. China alone accounts for a third of 2012/13 world consumption.


U.S. Cotton Crop Forecast Reduced in December

The USDA December forecast of 2012 U.S. cotton production was reduced 1 percent (190,000 bales) this month to about 17.3 million bales, as production was adjusted in a number of States. The latest estimate indicates an 11-percent increase from the 2011 season in which the crop was affected considerably from the extreme drought conditions in the Southwest region. The 2012 national yield is projected at 793 pounds per harvested acre, 9 pounds below a year ago and 6 pounds below the 5-year average.

The harvested area estimate was unchanged in December at 10.4 million acres, one of the largest since 2006. Upland production is estimated at 16.6 million bales, 1.9 million bales above last season, while the extra-long staple (ELS) crop remains estimated at 657,000 bales. For current production estimates by State and region.

Upland production is estimated to increase this season in two of the four Cotton Belt regions, as record yields occurred in three of the regions. In the Southwest, upland production is estimated at 5.7 million bales, up 2 million bales from 2011 as a lower abandonment this season raised harvested area. The Southwest yield, estimated at 534 pounds per harvested acre, would be its lowest since 2003.

In the Southeast, cotton production is expected to reach 5.5 million bales, near the record of 5.6 million bales produced in 2001. Although area was lower this season, a record yield of 974 pounds per harvested acre pushed the crop 10 percent above 2011. Similarly, the Delta area was reduced in 2012 but a record yield of 1,011 pounds per harvested acre kept the crop from decreasing significantly. In 2012, Delta production is estimated at 4.1 million bales, the second highest in 5 years.

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