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World cotton imports depict negative growth trends
15
Sep '08
While global production of cotton has stagnated to a certain extent in the last 4 years, imports of cotton on the other hand by countries except China is falling, albeit at a slow pace. Production in the cotton year 2004-05 (August-July) stood at 27.02 million metric tons (mmt), it slipped to 25.54 mmt in 2005-2006, but is expected to regain a part of the loss in 2007-08 and touch 26.24 mmt in the cotton year gone by.

Imports on the other hand have grown from 7.47 mmt in 2004-05 to 9.72 mmt in 2005-06. This was mainly due to heavy imports from the biggest consumer of cotton in the world, China. But in the very next cotton year of 2006-07, shipments shrunk to 8.23 mmt. This was again due to slackening of orders from China.

In 2007-08, there is expected to be a very marginal growth in shipments compared to the previous cotton year and is expected to reach 8.31 mmt. Imports are projected to rise to 8.60 mmt in 2008-09, but are again expected to fall to 8.22 mmt in 2009-10 on the lines of drop in production of cotton, which is also anticipated to touch 25.91 mmt.

China which is the considered the biggest consumer of cotton has seen its appetite for cotton growing with each passing year. Imports which stood at just 1.39 mmt in 2004-05 jumped to 4.20 mmt in 2005-06, to post an astonishing growth of 202 percent compared to the previous cotton year.

But the very next year saw shipments plunging to 2.30 mmt, a negative growth of 45.23 percent. In the just completed cotton year of 2007-08, imports are likely to reach 2.51 mmt. In the current cotton year of 2008-09, it is further expected to grow by 19.52 percent and arrive at 3.00 mmt.

A very nominal growth is projected for 2009-10. Imports are predicted to touch 3.05 mmt. There is no doubt that growth in cotton imports has been fuelled by increasing demands from the Chinese textile industry which also has seen tremendous growth in the last few years.

On one hand, imports of cotton by China have witnessed an increasing trend, on the other hand a slump in shipments of cotton has been observed in imports by other countries.

East Asia and Australia put together are expected to import just 1.852 mmt in 2007-08 compared to 2.07 mmt in 2004-05. It is further expected to fall to 1.79 mmt in the current cotton year that is 2008-09.

The countries of the European Union, Central Europe, Turkey and Pakistan collectively have also seen their imports going down with each passing year. In 2004-05 shipments which were 1.47 mmt are expected to dip to 1.12 mmt in 2007-08, and further fall to 1.06 mmt in 2009-10.

In the same manner imports from CIS countries have seen shipments falling from 347,000 mmt in 2004-05 to 333,000 mmt in 2005-06 and further falling to 322,000 in 2006-07.

A major drop is expected in figures of the cotton year that just ended in July 2008. Imports are expected to drop down to 269,000 mmt in 2007-08. A further fall is expected in 2008-09 and 2009-10 and is projected to reach 260,000 and 250,000 mmt respectively.

The most discerning part when contemplating the figures is the fall in demand from East Asia since the region is considered to be the one of the fastest growing textile and garment hubs across the globe which includes countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka etc.

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