The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cotton forecast for 2011/12 projects global cotton consumption to decrease for the second consecutive season. With recent high cotton prices that encouraged fiber substitution and the global economic uncertainty facing consumers, world mill use is projected to decrease to its lowest since 2003/04.
World cotton consumption in 2011/12 is forecast at 107.7 million bales, 6.8 million bales (6 percent) below last season (fig. 1). Consumption is lower in most major cottonconsuming countries this season with the notable exception of Pakistan, where cotton mill use is expected to rise 3 percent. With foreign consumption projected to decline 6.3 million bales in 2011/12, China accounts for more than half of the decrease (3.5 million bales) as free supplies there are being constrained by the Government’s national reserve policy. Despite the reduction, China still accounts for nearly 40 percent of the global cotton mill use in 2011/12. Meanwhile, the United States is expected to contribute 3 percent of the total in 2011/12, compared with 6 percent as recently as 2004/05.