The International Cotton Advisory Committee says it expects global cotton production to decline by 11% from this year to 23.2 MMT in 2013-14, as lower cotton prices are giving producers more encouragement to place competing crops. If realized, it would be the second consecutive year cotton production has declined and would be the smallest crop in four years.
Sharp production declines are expected in the U.S. and Turkey, where grains and soybeans are expected to gain more acres compared to cotton. Smaller crops are also projected in China, Pakistan, Central Asia and Francophone Africa. Production is forecast only slightly down in India, assuming a recovery in the average yield.
ICAC projects global cotton mill use to continue growing slowly in 2013-14, on the basis of a continued gradual recovery in global economic growth. It forecasts global cotton mill use to rise by 3% to 24.2 MMT, driven by South Asia. World cotton trade could remain almost stable at 7.8 MMT, as a projected further drop in Chinese imports could be offset by increased demand from the rest of the world.
"After three consecutive years of increase, global stocks could contract by 6% from the record level of 16.6 MMT forecast in July 2013, to 15.6 MMT in July 2014. Most of this reduction in stocks is expected to take place outside of China," says ICAC.
"One major source of uncertainty regarding short-term global cotton supply and use projections stems from Chinese policies. The Chinese government has accumulated a national reserve of over 7 MMT in the last 14 months by buying domestic and foreign cotton. This national reserve will likely continue growing until the end of March 2013 but it is not clear how it will be managed after that point. International cotton prices are currently supported and stabilized by Chinese policies, but changes to these policies could have opposite results," says ICAC.