India’s cotton output may slip to 362 lakh bales in 2017-18, says CAI

The Cotton Association of India (CAI) has lowered its estimate for cotton production for the 2017-18 crop year to 362 lakh bales of 170 kg each from 367 lakh bales estimated in February, mainly due to the crop damage triggered by severe pink bollworm infestation and the scarcity of water in some states.

The industry body lowered its estimate by 2 lakh bales each for Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, while production in other states is estimated to be lower by 1 lakh bales of 170 kg each. The projected balance sheet drawn by the CAI has estimated total cotton supply for the season at 412 lakh bales, which includes the opening stock of 30 lakh bales at the beginning of the season.

CAI has retained estimated imports at 20 lakh bales as in the previous month and domestic consumption at 330 lakh bales, which is 10 lakh bales higher than that estimated in February.

The increase in consumption estimate is on account of the fact that several new textile mills in Gujarat and other states have already started operations resulting in demand for 35 lakh new spindles, CAI said.

The CAI has also estimated an increase in exports for the season from 55 lakh bales to 60 lakh bales because of surge in demand for Indian cotton. Last year India exported 63 lakh bales of cotton. Indian cotton has gained support from the weakening of the rupee against the US dollar as this has accelerated its export demand, the CAI said.

India has shipped around 30 lakh bales of cotton as of now while contracts for exports have been signed for 35 lakh bales in the current season. Indian cotton is the cheapest in the international markets.

The cotton year in India begins in October and continues till September next year.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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