In 2017/18, world cotton production is projected to increase by 8 per cent to 24.9 mn tonne due entirely to an 8 per cent expansion in world cotton area to 31.7 mn hectares, which is below the 20-year average of 32.7 mn hectares. The world average yield is forecast at 785 kg/ha. India is expected to remain the world’s largest cotton producer in 2017/18 with output increasing by 6 per cent to 6.1 mn tonne. After falling by 6 per cent in 2016/17, China’s production is projected to rebound by 7 per cent to 5.2 mn tonne.

According to International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), Washingtonbased associations of cotton producing, consuming and trading countries, world cotton production and mill use in 2017-18 are estimated at 25.1 mn tonne, which would result in a 9 per cent increase in output and 2 per cent rise in consumption. With output projected to increase by 4 per cent to 6 mn tonne.

China’s cotton production in the same period may rise by 7 per cent to 5.2 mn tonne after four seasons of decline, while Pakistan’s production is projected to increase by 17 per cent to 2 mn tonne. Although the production forecast for the United States is 4.5 mn tonne, a rise of 20 per cent, the impact of the recent hurricane in Texas, home to around 45 per cent of US cotton production, is yet to be fully assessed, according to ICAC. Cotton production in Brazil is forecast to increase by 5 per cent to 1.6 mn tonne as high returns in 2016/17, resulting partially from a 17 per cent increase in the average yield, are likely to encourage farmers to expand cotton area.

Global cotton consumption, which rose by 1 per cent to 24.5 mn tonne in 2016- 17 is projected to increase by 2 per cent to 25.1 mn tonne in 2017-18. Mill use in China may grow by 1 per cent to 8.1 mn tonne while India’s cotton consumption is predicted to recover by 3 per cent to 5.3 mn tonne. Mill use in Bangladesh is anticipated to remain stable at 1.4 mn tonne as widespread flooding in August this year has damaged infrastructure and made it difficult to transport goods throughout the country and to run businesses, ICAC said.

Pakistan’s mill use is expected to rise by 4 per cent to 2.2 mn tonne, which follows a 13 per cent decrease in mill use in 2015/16 and stagnation in 2016/ 17. Consumption in Bangladesh is projected to rise by 5 per cent to 1.5 mn tonne due to strong demand domestically and internationally, and Turkey’s mill use is expected to remain stable at 1.5 mn tonne.

World cotton area is projected to expand by 9 per cent during this period to 31.9 mn hectares, and the world average yield is projected to remain unchanged at 789 kg per hectare. World cotton stocks are predicted to remain stable at 18.5 mn tonne at the end of 2017-18, and the world stock-to-use ratio is expected to remain unchanged at about 75 per cent, or nine months of mill use.

China sold over two mn tonne from its national cotton reserve between May and August this year, thereby lowering the reserve to around 6.3 mn tonne at the end of August 2017. China’s cotton stocks are forecast to decrease another 16 per cent to 8.9 mn tonne, which would account for 48 per cent of world stocks in 2017-18. Ending stocks held outside China are expected to increase by 22 per cent to 9.6 mn tonne in 2017-18.

India’s exports are forecast to rise by 2 per cent to 930,000 tonne, and Australia’s exports are projected to increase by 8 per cent to 760,000 tonne. Bangladesh, Vietnam and China are expected to remain the world’s three largest importers.