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Egypt to scale up cotton cultivation and exports back

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2017-08-14 14:00:00 – Cairo

Egypt plans to scale its cotton cultivation back. Nabil al-Santaricy, head of the Alexandria Cotton Exporters Association, referring to long-staple American cotton, Egypt's primary competitor said that the area under cultivation is growing and exports are also going to grow and they can now sell at a price that’s less than California Prima.

This year the area planted rose to about 220,000 acres and is expected to hit up to 500,000 acres in the next two to three years, according to cotton traders.

Exports of Egypt's prized cotton will hit 38,000 tonnes in the 2016-17 seasons ending this month, up 19 percent on last year's total, the head of a cotton exporting council stated, as Egypt looks to win back market share lost after a 2011 uprising.

Production of Egyptian long-staple cotton, famously used for luxury linens, has plunged sharply since political upheaval six years ago led to less enforcement of regulations, degrading the crop's quality.

Last year Egypt banned all but the highest quality cotton seed in order to save its historic crop, dramatically reducing the area under cultivation to about 130,000 acres, a more than 100-year low.

Egypt last November floated its currency, roughly halving it in value and making its exports relatively cheap on international markets, a boon for Egyptian cotton traders able to source higher quality cotton after the new regulations.

Ahmed Elbosaty, chairman of Modern Nile Cotton, Egypt's largest cotton trading company, expects to more than double its exports to about 16,000 tonnes this year from about 7,000 in the season that ends this month.

The idea is to regain their position in this global extra-long staple market, said Elbosaty, who sees Egypt able to more than double its global market share within three years to capture about 20 percent of a small but high-end market that trades some 500,000 tonnes of long-staple cotton per year.

Egypt's prized long-staple cotton trades at a high premium, currently around 160 cents per lb versus 90 cents for the more common short-staple cotton.

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