India’s cotton exports may fall to 7 million bales in 2018-19, says CAI

Close on the heels of USDA forecasting lower cotton acreage this year in India, trade body Cotton Association of India (CAI) has said that India is likely to export 7 million bales in 2018/19, down 30 per cent from an earlier estimate.

Lower shipments from the world’s biggest producer of the fibre amid rising demand from top consumer China could support global prices, which were trading near their lowest level in over four months.

India has so far contracted to export around 600,000 bales to neighbouring China, which has imposed sanctions on shipments from top exporter the United States.

Last year, Bangladesh imported 46 per cent of its needs from India, the High Commission of India revealed after a meeting between the high commissioner and industry leaders and office bearers of the Bangladesh Cotton Association.

The delegation briefed the envoy about the work of the association and the Bangladesh-India Cotton Forum.

The association works closely with Indian trade bodies as the country has to depend on import for raw cotton, the high commission said. Local growers in Bangladesh can meet only around 2 per cent of the demand leading to over $3 billion worth of import, according to available statistics.

Bangladesh is the second largest exporter of readymade clothes after China.

In Gujarat and Maharashtra, rainfall was lower than normal. In some pockets, pink bollworm attacks have also been reported, according to the CAI. Some regions of these two states received as much as 22 percent less rainfall than normal, according to data compiled by India Meteorological Department.

Indian farmers have adopted genetically-modified seeds known as Bt cotton that are resistant to bollworms, but it hasn’t stopped the infestations. Pink bollworms consume the fibre and seeds inside a plant’s boll, or fruit, and yields fall.

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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