Global Cotton Output, Demand to Rise, U.S. Group Says


Global cotton output may climb 5.7 percent in the year starting Aug. 1 as farmers increase planting after prices surged to a record, said Jordan Lea, the president of the American Cotton Shippers Association.

Production will rise to 122 million bales, Lea, also the chairman of Greenville, South Caroline-based Eastern Trading Co., said today at an industry conference in Washington. The crop in the year ending July 31 will be 115.46 million bales, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Jan. 12. Annual consumption may climb 2.9 percent, Lea said.

Prices have more than doubled in the past year, reaching a record $1.8122 a pound on Feb. 3, after flooding slashed crops in Pakistan and Australia and demand surged in China, the world’s biggest buyer. Acreage in U.S., the leading exporter, may rise 14 percent this year, the National Cotton Council said on Feb. 5.

“The surge in prices was mainly because of adverse weather conditions, demand from China, government interventions and global political tensions,” Lea said. “The hedge funds and index funds have led to temporary speculation in prices.”

Consumption in the year ending July 31 will be 116.58 million bales, the USDA has forecast. A bale of cotton weighs 480 pounds (218 kilograms).

The American Cotton Shippers Association is based in Memphis, Tennessee.

Cotton  for March delivery gained 0.78 cent, or 0.4 percent, to settle at $1.7529 at 2:51 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York.