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Three countries contribute most of global cotton mill use
Dec '10
The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cotton projections for 2010/11 indicate that world cotton mill use is forecast to decrease about 2 percent as prices continue at unprecedented levels amid tight supplies. This season's modest decline follows 2009/10's 8-percent increase that followed the global economic crisis.

China and Pakistan, two of the world's three largest spinners, are projected to have lower cotton mill use in 2010/11. However, with mill use rising in India this season, the combined share of global cotton mill use for the 3 countries remains near last season.

In 2004/05, these 3 countries accounted for 59 percent of the world's cotton mill use; for 2010/11, these countries are projected to contribute more than 67 percent. China's share dominates, spinning over 40 percent of the global total since 2006/07. Shares for India continue to grow and are expected to reach 18 percent in 2010/11, while Pakistan is forecast to account for around 9 percent.

The USDA December forecast of the 2010 U.S. cotton crop was lowered slightly (by 150,000 bales) this month to nearly 18.3 million bales, but production remains the largest in 3 years. The national yield was lowered to 814 pounds per harvested acre, above last season but similar to 2008/09. Harvested area remained unchanged at nearly 10.8 million acres, the highest in four seasons. Upland production is estimated at 17.8 million bales, 6 million above last season, while the extra-long staple (ELS) crop remains estimated at 498,000 bales.

Upland production is estimated to expand in each Cotton Belt region in 2010/11, a first since 2004/05. However, the expected growth varies considerably. In the Southwest, an upland crop of nearly 8.6 million bales is currently forecast, similar to the 2007 crop there. A favorable growing season reduced abandonment to near historic lows and supported above-average yields; the Southwest is forecast to produce the third highest cotton crop on record.

The Southeast and Delta are expected to harvest 4.2 million and 3.9 million acres, respectively, this season. For the Southeast, higher area, accompanied by a below average yield, produced the highest regional output in four seasons. In the Delta, the highest area in three seasons, along with an above-average yield, provided the region's largest harvest since 2007/08. In the West region, upland production is estimated to rise for the first time in 6 years and, at 1.1 million bales, the crop is forecast at a 3-year high as area rebounded in 2010/11.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

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