Cotton scales to record highs


The third-largest shipper of cotton will harvest a smaller amount of the soft fiber, which helped push cotton futures to record prices, Bloomberg reports.

The production of cotton in Central Asia, which includes Uzbekistan, will drop to 7.02 million bales as compared to the 7.17 million estimated in January, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Despite January forecasts for global cotton production to total 115.46 million bales for year-ending July 31, the output will be 115.25 million bales.

"Yesterday’s USDA report was confirming current tight supply amid a steady increase in demand from China," Baek Youn Min, a broker for agricultural products at Korea Exchange Bank Futures in Seoul, told Bloomberg.

Shortly after 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, cotton futures were up 1.85 percent, a 3.34 cent increase to $1.8392 per pound.

China, the world’s largest user of the soft commodity, imported 86 percent more cotton in 2010 than the year prior. That increase is attributable to the nation’s economic growth boosting demand from the textile industry and inclement weather harming the quality of domestic crops.