While China had dampened the spirits of Indian cotton exporters a few months earlier, neighbouring Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar have brought a smile back on their face.
There has been a 35 per cent surge in export contracts till November 30, over a year before, owing primarily to doubling of import orders from Pakistan.
Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar have emerged as the top importers in the current cotton year (October 2015 to September 2016).
According to industry sources, around three million bales (170 kg is one bale) of cotton export contracts have been registered, of which orders for a million are from Pakistan. Last year at the same period, total export contract was 2.2 mn bales and Pakistan’s share in it was negligible.
“The reason for higher Pak import is floods in the region, which damaged the cotton crop drastically,” said Dhiren Sheth, president, Cotton Association of India.
Pakistan imported 500,000 bales in all of 2014-15. The Indian industry expects Pak import of 1.5-1.7 mn bales in this season.
Arvind Pan, managing director of Jaydeep Cotton Fibres, Rajkot, said: “Generally, Pakistan imports cotton from the Wagah border at Punjab. This year, it has been importing through the sea route, mainly from Gujarat and Maharashtra.” Jaydeep exported 80,000 bales this year to Pakistan.
According to Pan, contracts with Pakistan has been done in a range of Rs 32,500 per candy (a candy is 356 kg).
In 2014-15, our cotton export declined to 5.4 mn bales. Export to China was 11 mn bales in 2013-14 and which reduced to 2.5 mn the next year. This year, demand from China is likely to be even less.
However, total export this year could touch 6-6.5 mn bales. “Pakistan will play a major role, as its import might cross 1.5 mn bales,” said Arun Dalal, a leading trader from Ahmedabad.
CAI estimates output at 37.05 mn bales in 2015-16, against 38.27 mn last year. Domestic consumption is estimated at 32.5 mn bales and import at 1.4 mn. The opening stock was 7.86 mn bales.