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India's cotton output estimates lowered
Dec '10
Cotton Association of India (CAI) which has 446 members spanning the entire cotton value chain on December 18th released its new estimate for the 2010/11 cotton season. This report as of 30th November estimates the cotton crop to be 34.75 million bales of 170 kg each (347.50 lakh bales).

This November estimate is 950,000 bales (170 kg each) less than the October estimate of 35.7 million bales. The unseasonal rains in the cotton growing zones in India during November, particularly floods in Andhra Pradesh have resulted in lowering the crop estimate.

Gujarat, the largest cotton growing state in India is now estimated to produce 11.6 million bales which is 400,000 bales short from the previous estimate. Andhra Pradesh is estimated to produce 6 million bales. Earlier estimate for this state was 6.55 million bales. The central zone, which comprises of the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, is estimated to have lost 300,000 bales. The floods in Andhra Pradesh have decreased the output in this state by 550,000 bales. The loss from the Central Zone and Andhra Pradesh now stands at 850,000 bales, which is a major factor for the decline in the 2010/11 estimate.

As of the latest report, CAI's estimate stands at 34.75 million bales, which is however higher than the Cotton Advisory Board's (CAB) estimate of 32.5 million bales. One point to be taken into account is that the decision by Government of India will be based on the CAB data, which is lower than the latest estimate by CAI.

In addition to the lowered estimate, spinning mills are also concerned about the loss in quality of cotton due to rainfall and floods. One manager who is in-charge of cotton purchasing of a large textile mill group briefed this scribe that the quality loss may be upto 10% due to weather related issues.

As of today, there is no indication as to when a new crop estimate will be released by India's Cotton Advisory Board.

Seshadri Ramkumar, Texas Tech University

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