Pakistan has turned a huge importer of Indian cotton, purchasing about 25 lakh bales (a bale is 170 kgs) which is about 40% of the shipments of the fibre from the country so far in the 2015-16 season, (October-September). The country has so far exported about 65 lakh bales of cotton in the 2015-16 seasons as pest attacks in Pakistan have resulted in a huge fall in production.
Although the relationship between the two countries may not be in the best of shape, it has not prevented Pakistan from turning the biggest buyer of home grown cotton. This has created a big impact, said J Thulasidharan, president, Indian Cotton Federation (ICF)
Cotton production in Pakistan is estimated to have fallen by 35% to around 97 lakh bales in 2015-16 season. Pakistan usually imports about 12 lakh bales of cotton a year. India is the largest producer of cotton in the world with the Cotton Advisory Board (CAB) pegging production for the 2015-16 season at 338 lakh bales.
While Pakistan imported most of its cotton from India when prices were ruling at around Rs 34000 per candy, textile mills are buying cotton from Africa and Australia at a much higher price, industry officials said.
With domestic cotton prices ruling higher than international prices, textile mills in the region, who were buying the commodity from Africa, have started importing cotton from Australia.
While the cost of home-grown cotton is about Rs 50000 per candy, Australian cotton is available at around Rs 48000 per candy, officials said. A leading textile mill in the region imported about 50000 bales of Australian cotton recently.
They are importing Australian cotton as West African cotton is no longer available. The quality of Australian cotton is also quite good, senior industry officials said. Mills started buying West African cotton as costs were lower. Two leading textile mills in south India â€” each of them bought about 2 lakh bales of West African cotton in April-June.
High prices in the domestic market have pushed up cotton imports in the 2015-16 season. While CAB, which comprises representatives of the textile industry, trade, ginners and government officials, had projected imports of around 15 lakh bales during 2015-16, trade and industry officials said that imports have already crossed 20 lakh bales. Imports stood at around 14.5 lakh bales during 2014-15.
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