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Shrink in China's cotton imports may affect world trade

Mar '07
World cotton production is rising in 2006/07, with a large increase in China's crop. World production is estimated 2.8 million bales higher than in 2005/06, at 117 million bales. Consumption is also higher, up 5.7 million bales, to 122 million, largely due to growth in China.

World trade, however, is estimated lower, down 14 percent, as China's imports shrink by 27 percent. World ending stocks are expected to fall in 2006/07, largely due to changes in China.

World ending stocks outside of China are expected to decline only slightly when measured as a share of world consumption: from 33 percent in 2005/06 to 32 percent in 2006/07.

After an extraordinary upward surge in 2005/06, China's imports are expected to remain high by historical standards, but decline 5.2 million bales in 2006/07, to 14 million bales. Cotton consumption in China is expected to increase 5 million bales, and China will account for 41 percent of the world's cotton consumption in 2006/07.

But, with China's beginning stocks 2.6 million bales higher than in 2005/06, production 5.3 million bales higher, and a further, residual 850,000-bale increase in domestic supplies, China import needs are down substantially. Compared with a year earlier, China's domestic cotton supplies are 8 million bales, or 20 percent, higher in 2006/07.

For the rest of the world, domestic cotton supplies in 2006/07 are lower than the year before. The largest decline is estimated to be in the United States, and the second largest is expected in Australia.

Lower production is the source of these changes, down 2.2 million bales in the United States and 1.7 million bales in Australia. India's domestic supplies in 2006/07 are estimated to be up 2 million bales from 2005/06 as production is estimated to be 2.5 million bales higher.

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Cotton Council International

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