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World cotton imports may recover modestly in 2015/16: ICAC

In the 2015/16 season, world cotton imports may recover modestly, increasing 2 per cent to 7.7 million tons with imports outside of China rising by 3 per cent to 6.1 million tons.

In 2011/12, Chinese imports more than doubled from the previous season to 5.3 million tons and surpassed the total volume of imports by the rest of world, which reached only 4.4 million tons.

“However, in the following seasons, Chinese imports declined while imports outside of China have grown steadily,” a press release from the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) informed.

“In 2014/15, imports outside of China are likely to increase 6 per cent to 5.9 million tons, but will not offset the 45% decline in Chinese imports to 1.6 million tons,” ICAC said.

As a result, ICAC has projected world imports to be down 12 per cent to 7.5 million tons in the 2014/15 season.

Bangladesh, Vietnam and Indonesia are expected to be the three largest importers outside of China in 2015/16 due to the continued growth in their spinning sectors that rely primarily on imported cotton.

Bangladesh’s imports are forecast at just under 1 million tons in 2014/15 and are expected to remain stable in 2015/16.

Vietnam’s imports are projected to rise 6 per cent to 927,000 tons in 2015/16 and Indonesia’s imports to increase 4 per cent to nearly 800,000 tons.

US exports which experienced good demand for much of 2014/15 are expected to remain stable in 2015/16 at 2.3 million tons.

On the other hand, India’s exports are projected down 50 per cent in 2014/15 to 1 million tons, but could recover partially in 2015/16 to 1.2 million tons.

World cotton area is forecast down 7 per cent to 31.3 million hectares in 2015/16 due to low prices in 2014/15 and as a result, world cotton production is projected to be down 9 per cent to 23.9 million tons.

The announcement of a lower subsidy for 2015 in China is expected to lead to a 12 per cent decrease in area to 3.8 million hectares and Chinese cotton output could fall to 5.4 million tons in 2015/16.

Area in India reached a record 12.3 million hectares in 2014/15, but according to ICAC, is likely to decrease 5 per cent to 11.6 million hectares in 2015/16.

“Applying the average yield in the last three years would result in a 2 per cent decline in production to 6.4 million tons in India,” ICAC explained.

Additionally, area in the US is forecast to fall 15 per cent to 3.3 million hectares due to low international prices and adverse weather conditions.

Assuming a yield of 912 kg/ha, production in the United States is projected down 14 per cent to 3 million tons in 2015/16.

World cotton consumption increased 3 per cent in 2014/15 to 24.3 million tons and is projected to grow another 2 per cent in 2015/16 to 24.9 million tons.

Domestic cotton prices in China fell from an average of 139 cents/lb in 2013/14 to just under 100 cents/lb in the first five months of 2015 due to the ending of China’s reserve policy.

Assuming prices remain around the same level in 2015/16, Chinese cotton consumption is likely to remain stable at 7.7 million tons in 2015/16.

Instead, consumption is expected continue growing in nearby countries. Consumption in India, the second largest consumer of cotton lint, is projected up 3 per cent to 5.4 million tons in 2015/16.

Despite strong competition from yarn imports, Pakistan’s consumption is expected to grow 3 per cent to 2.6 million tons in 2015/16.

World ending stocks are forecast to decrease for the first time since 2010/11, falling 5 per cent to 20.8 million tons in 2015/16.

Although China’s ending stocks are projected down 6 per cent to 11.8 million tons, it would still hold 56 per cent of the world’s stocks at the end of 2015/16.

After increasing 19 per cent in 2014/15 to 9.4 million tons, ending stocks held outside of China are expected to decline 3 per cent to 9.1 million tons in 2015/16.