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Cotton stocks expected to fall in 2009/10
Dec '09
Global cotton ending stocks are expected to shrink by 13% to 10.7 million tons by the end of 2009/10. This would be the largest decline in stocks since 2002/03, and it is explained by the combination of lower production and rebounding consumption.

World cotton production is projected at 22.2 million tons in 2009/10, 5% lower than in 2008/09 due to lower yields. This is the third consecutive season of decline in global cotton production, the result of a decrease in price competitiveness of cotton vs. competing crops, and also, in the last two seasons, of a weakening of cotton yields. The production drop this season is driven by a 16% fall in Chinese production, to 6.8 million tons. However, production is expected to increase by 5% to 5.2 million tons in India and by 8% to 2.1 million tons in Pakistan. U.S. production is forecast slightly lower than last season, at 2.7 million tons.

World cotton mill use is projected up by 2% to 23.8 million tons in 2009/10, pushed by the global economic recovery. Amongst the seven largest cotton consumers, only the Asian ones (China, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) are expected to experience growth in cotton mill use during 2009/10. The combined share of these four Asian countries in world cotton mill use is forecast at 70%.

World imports are projected up by 6% to 7.0 million tons in 2009/10, driven by stronger mill use. Chinese imports are expected to increase by 15% to 1.8 million tons to make up for the smaller crop. Exports from India could rebound to 1.4 million tons, driven by a large exportable surplus. However, US exports could decrease by 21% to 2.3 million tons.

The Cotlook A Index has increased considerably between September and November. Based on a lower stocks-to-mill use ratio in the World-less-China in 2009/10, the ICAC Price Model forecasts a season-average Cotlook A Index of 69 U.S. cents/lb in 2009/10 (the 95% confidence interval is between 63 and 78 cents/lb). This would represent a 13% increase from the 2008/09 average.

International Cotton Advisory Committee

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