The projected slowdown in global economic growth in 2011 and 2012 will affect consumption of textile products, and therefore demand for cotton fiber. The ICAC Secretariat projects global cotton mill use to remain stable at 24.6 million tons in 2011/12. China, India and Pakistan, which account together for two-thirds of global mill use, are expected to spin only 1% more cotton in 2011/12 than in 2010/11.
While cotton consumption could remain stagnant in 2011/12, cotton production is expected to increase in reaction to the high cotton prices received by farmers last season. The Secretariat expects global cotton production to rise by 8% to 26.9 million tons in 2011/12, the largest crop since 2004/05.
The increase from last season is explained mostly by an expansion in cotton area to 36 million hectares, whereas the average yield could rise only slightly to 745 kg/ha. The global production increase in 2011/12 will be driven primarily by China and India. Production is also expected to increase significantly in Pakistan, Australia, Francophone Africa and Turkey. However, U.S. production is forecast down by 12% due to severe drought in the Southwest.
Global cotton trade is expected to increase by a moderate 2% to 7.8 million tons in 2011/12, driven by an increase in Chinese imports. While U.S. exports are projected to drop by 23% to 2.4 million tons due to reduced supplies, exports from Australia and Brazil could rise to record levels (0.9 million tons and 0.8 million tons, respectively). India’s exports are expected to remain stable at 1.1 million tons.
As a result of the projected surplus of 2.3 million tons, global cotton stocks could rebound to 11.3 million tons by the end of 2011/12. The stocks-to-use ratio in the world outside China is expected to rise from 46% to 55%, which could translate into a significant decline in the season-average Cotlook A Index.
The International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) is an association of governments of cotton producing, consuming and trading countries. The Committee was formed in 1939, and the Secretariat was established in 1946. The annual budget is US$1.98 million, of which about 85% come from government assessments and 15% from the sale of subscriptions and participant fees at meetings and seminars.