USDA projects downward trend for next 2 years in cotton imports by China

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2014-02-17 16:00:00 – NewYork

The US Department of Agriculture in its long-term projection has stated that the cotton imports by China, the top grower and consumer of the fibre, will plunge for further two seasons, in 2014-15, it will plunge from 22% to 8.6m tonnes, and again the following season to 7.5m tonnes due to its huge inventories, but purchases will stage a recovery, leading "rapid" growth in world trade.

The decline, driven by a change in Chinese farm support is likely to end the country's record of stockpiling cotton at prices well above international market rates, will pull world trade lower next season.

Contraction is expected in the short turn as China halts and then reverses its accumulation of stocks, the USDA said in its so-called baseline report.

China's imports will have plunged nearly 70% from their all time low 2011-12.

However, volumes will stage a sharp recovery from 2017-18, as the lower domestic values enabled by China's dumping of its price support programme boosts fuels higher demand from mills.

China's reforms are expected to allow it to recover part of the share of world cotton consumption lost between 2009 and 2013, when some of China's textile production and cotton imports shifted to other countries," because of the elevated costs of the fibre encouraged by the price support scheme.

The revival will take China's imports above 21m tonnes in a decade's time, and fuel growth in world cotton trade, which is projected to trend upward at a rapid 3.8% growth rate between 2014-15 and 2023-24, the USDA said.

With Chinese textiles groups shifting to cheaper yarn importers have benefited Bangladesh, it will raise its imports strongly, overtaking Turkey to become the second-ranked buyer, with similar dynamics lifting Vietnam to third place.

US, the top cotton exporter share of trade has fallen sharply as rival producing countries have raised their output, catching up on yields through adopting more genetically modified crops.

The US share of world cotton production has fallen sharply with the spread of new technology around the world in recent years, and its share is likely to continue falling in the long run, although far more slowly, the USDA said.

Furthermore, a rise in sowings of upland cotton this year, by 900,000 acres to 11.0m acres, will likely buck a trend of plantings stable at about 10.0m acres.

This year rise is thanks to "prices for competing crops falling more" than cotton values.

The sowings estimate compares closely with a forecast from the National Cotton Council at the weekend that US farmers will plant 11.04m acres of upland cotton this year, encouraged by pricing signals, with a further 225,000 acres of extra-long staple crop.

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