A smaller U.S. cotton supply and reduced foreign import demand—particularly from China— are projected to keep demand for U.S. cotton lower, near that of 2011/12. Exports are forecast to decline, while mill use is expected to increase slightly in 2013/14.
Exports continue to make up the bulk of U.S. cotton demand and, at 11.5 million bales, 2013/14 exports are forecast to account for 77 percent of the total. In 2012/13, U.S. exports will expand from the year before as China continues to import more cotton than first anticipated; the U.S. share of world trade in 2012/13 is forecast at 29 percent.
For 2013/14, world trade is expected to decrease to its lowest level in three seasons, but the U.S. share of trade is projected to remain at 29 percent as foreign supplies outside China are forecast to decline in 2013/14. Also, China is expected to reduce imports in 2013/14, and is projected to hold more than 50 percent of the world’s cotton stocks in its national reserve by season’s end.
U.S. cotton mill use for 2013/14 is expected to reach 3.5 million bales, 3 percent above the latest 2012/13 estimate (3.4 million bales). With modest growth expected in global mill use, demand for U.S. cotton textile products is also expected to see some improvement in 2013/14, as consumer demand for cotton apparel follows the movement in the global economy.
With U.S. cotton demand projected to exceed production for the first time in 3 years, 2013/14 ending stocks are forecast to decrease from 2012/13. Stocks are projected at 3.0 million bales on July 31, 2014—one million bales below the beginning level.
The stocks-to-use ratio is estimated at 20 percent, down from 2012/13 but similar to the most recent 4-year average. Based on these initial supply and demand projections, the 2013/14 U.S. upland farm price is expected to range between 68 and 88 cents per pound. At the midpoint of the range, the farm price would be 6 cents above the 2012/13 estimate of 72 cents per pound.
United States Department of Agriculture
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