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White gold crop yield estimates adjusted for 2008/09 and 2009/10
20
Oct '09
This month's production estimates for China in 2008/09 and 2009/10 have been adjusted to reflect information released by China's National Development Reform Commission (NDRC). For 2008/09, the NDRC is estimating production of about 36.7 million bales, an increase of 900,000 bales from last month's USDA estimate. The agency attributed the increase to higher production in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region compared with the estimate released previously by the National Bureau of Statistics. Xinjiang's production has been expanding rapidly in recent years and now accounts for 40-45 percent of China's total production.

Harvested area of 6.0 million hectares is estimated by USDA using data from the provincial statistics bureaus, with the exception of Xinjiang, where area is estimated higher to account for the additional production reported by the NDRC. USDA has raised China's 2008/09 ending stocks 900,000 bales from last month to 20.9 million bales, commensurate with the production increase. The government of China's reserve auction program has provided more information than in past years about China's end-of-season stocks. With reserve stocks estimated by USDA at about 13.0 million bales, total stocks of 20.9 million left 8 million bales in the hands of mills and commercial entities, which is the equivalent of 2-2.5 months of consumption. Relatively little 2009-crop production was available to the market before October 1, due to delays in harvesting; thus, China's mills had to rely on these “free stocks,” plus the sum of additional reserve purchases made in August and September and imports, to supply their needs for August and September.

These sources were not sufficient to cover estimated monthly consumption and the sum of mill plus commercial stocks were likely reduced below the equivalent of two months' consumption by September 30, 2009. The conclusion that industry stocks were unusually tight at the end of September is consistent with firm prices during this period and increased demand for government stocks; by the last week of the auctions preceding the October 1 national holiday, nearly all of the reserve cotton offered for sale was purchased by mills.

Tight industry stocks are also consistent with the government's policy of supporting prices to farmers, who are likely to benefit from strong mill demand for the 2009 crop as it becomes available. For 2009/10, USDA has lowered its production estimate by 1.0 million bales from last month, reflecting a lower NDRC estimate and wet weather in the Yangtze region, which has adversely affected the harvest. Harvested area of 5.45 million hectares is 9 percent below 2008/09 and yields are estimated down 2.5 percent.

United States Department of Agriculture

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