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Cotton demand in Vietnam remains strong

Jun '07
Cotton demand in Vietnam remains strong as the textile industry continues to expand rapidly. Vietnam's 2006/07 cotton-production improved slightly over last year due to better crop yield, but it still only accounts for 5% of total demand.

Market Year 2006/07 cotton imports are expected to reach record levels of 210 thousand metric tons in response to demand from the garment and textile sector. The United States remains the second largest supplier of cotton to Vietnam, though exports declined slightly in 2006 due to strong competition. Imports from India increased sharply as traders sought out cheaper markets.

Situation and Outlook:
Vietnam is now ranked among the top ten garment and textile-exporting countries in the world. Exports for 2006 were valued at $5.8 billion, with sales to the United States, the largest buyer, accounting for $3.1 billion. Vietnam has ambitious targets for its textile industry, with exports projected to reach $7 billion in 2007 and, for the longer term, $10-12 billion by 2010.

Various strategies for investments to achieve these goals currently exist, and since 2006, five new private textile companies with capacity of 100,000 spindles or more have opened. This has triggered an increase in demand for cotton. Given Vietnam's land constraint and competition from other agricultural activities, Vietnam must rely heavily on imports to fulfill its cotton needs.

Vietnam's cotton lint production in 2006/2007 was only 10.56 tmt, while cotton imports for the first nine months of the market year (August-April) were 160.4 tmt, with the year-end total projected to reach as high as 210 tmt. Cotton imports for 2007/2008 should continue to climb in response to continued expansion in the textile sector.

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