Record world cotton consumption and stocks seen outside of China in 2018/19

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Photo courtesy - Cargill

Cotton stocks outside of China will increase for the third year in a row in 2018/19 and reach a record at just over 50 million bales, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in its first detailed forecast for the marketing year.

Ending stocks are forecast to increase in nearly all major producing and consuming countries, as global production remains high relative to consumption, the USDA said in its latest World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimate (WASDE) report.

In contrast, China’s ending stocks are forecast to fall for the fourth consecutive year and be less than half the level seen in 2014/15, it added.

Continued reserve sales and strong consumption growth in China will combine to work down stocks, the report said.

The WASDE forecast global consumption of cotton at a record level of just over 125 million bales. If realised, this would be the seventh consecutive year of growth as global textile consumption continues to recovery from recessionary contractions.

Growth is expected in all of the top ten spinning countries, with continued very strong growth forecast for Vietnam and Bangladesh in particular, two countries that have led the way in growth over the last several years, the report said.

India is also expected to see above-world-average growth rates after several years of sluggish performance.

World exports are forecast up over 4.4 percent, the report said, adding that trade will be up in nearly all exporting countries, although in many cases not enough to offset higher production. With significantly higher exportable supplies, Brazil, West Africa, and Australia will capture a majority of the increase.

World imports are necessarily up by a similar amount as exports. In particular, China is expected to allow considerably more cotton imports in 2018/19 than in recent years, implying a loosening of the import control regime. Import growth in Vietnam and Bangladesh is expected to continue alongside rising mill use, the report added.

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