From 2012/13 to 2013/14, cotton production in China and the United States is each forecast to fall by 700,000 tons to 6.7 million tons and 3 million tons respectively, and production in India is forecast to decline by 170,000 tons to 5.7 million tons as farmers continue to switch out cotton for more profitable alternatives. China’s production decline is also attributed to labor shortages as farm workers migrate to cities searching for urban employment.
Global cotton mill use is rising an estimated 7% from 22.1 million tons last season to 23.7 million tons in 2012/13, and mill use is projected to rise another 2% to 24.3 million tons in 2013/14. Mill use in China is falling to an estimated 8.3 million tons in 2012/13 as the national cotton policy remains unclear, and another drop of 300,000 tons to 8.0 million tons in 2013/14 is expected, the lowest in 10 years.
Imports by China are estimated at 3.7 million tons in 2012/13 and 3 million tons in 2013/14. Because of the Chinese national cotton reserve policy, a seismic shift in the location of world cotton use is underway. Decreased mill use in China will be partially offset by increases in India, Bangladesh, Turkey and Pakistan.
World cotton stocks are forecast to rise to 18 million tons by July 2014, which will represent approximately 9 months of world mill use. However, the ending stocks-to-use ratio in the world minus the Chinese reserve will drop to 37% in 2012/13 and to an estimated 30% in 2013/14, posing a potential challenge to the global supply of cotton next season. Assuming the Chinese government adheres to the current reserve policy, the Cotlook A Index is projected to average 88 cents and 122 cents per pound in 2012/13 and 2013/14.
International Cotton Advisory Committee
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