Cotton price trends – Going down memory lane

February 08, 2011 - Global

Would you, our valued reader believe us, if we told you that cotton prices shot up by a staggering 607.95 percent between 1931 and 1950 or for that matter they surged by a mind-boggling 332.87 percent in February 2011, when compared with the average cotton prices prevailing in 2001.

Or that after having touched a peak of 35.34 cents per pound in 1919, prices of cotton slipped back to 5.66 cents per pound in 1931, down 83.98 percent, which is the lowest cotton price ever recorded in history and lower than 5.73 cents per pound registered in the year 1898.

Cotton prices are surmounting new peaks with each passing day in the last few months, mainly due to a serious demand-supply mismatch and also thanks to speculation. Fibre2fashion delved in to the annals of the cotton history and compiled and analyzed data beginning from 1876.

Cotton prices have crossed new milestones and also fallen steeply in various years from the time a record of cotton prices was begun to be maintained in 1876. In 1876, the average price of cotton stood at 9.71 cents per pound, which fell to 5.73 cents per pound in 1898 after having touched a high of 10.66 cents per pound in 1881.

In 1903, cotton prices once again ascended to 10.49 cents per pound, up 83.05 percent when corresponded with those prevailing in 1898, in a matter of just five years. In 1914, prices slipped once again to 7.35 cents per pound to once again surge phoenix-like to 35.34 cents per pound in 1919, up by a magnificent 380.16 percent, again in a period of just five years.

After having fallen to just 5.66 cents per pound in 1931, the lowest in history, cotton prices oscillated between 5.66 cents per pound and 28.58 cents per pound for a period of 30 years between 1919 and 1949 and touched the 40.07 cents per pound mark in 1950 to post a growth of 40.20 percent, when compared with 1949.

Thereafter for a period of 22 years cotton prices were in a free fall mode and once again dropped to 21.75 cents per pound in 1966, before it could regain the 40 cents per pound mark once again in 1973 to touch 44.60 per pound.

Between 1973 and 1980 there was no looking back and cotton prices continued their march northwards, not even falling once, in any given year in the period, to touch 74.70 cents per pound in 1980.

However the period between 1980 and 2001 was one of the worst periods for cotton prices as they were in a continuous falling mode. Cotton prices fell unabated for 15 long years till 1995, the year in which, it once again regained, the 74 cents per pound mark to however, once again plummet to 41.10 cents per pound in 2001.

Nevertheless, the period beginning from 2002 till 2011 was the best ever decade for cotton prices as they ascended non-stop in each of the intervening years except for in 2004 and 2006 and have now touched a historic peak of 177.91 cents per pound in February 2011, up by an incredible 332.871 percent, when compared with 2001 and an unbelievable 129.44 percent when corresponded with the average cotton price of 2009.

Click here to view average annual cotton prices between 1876 and 2011.