Australian cotton farmers who suffered due to the China-Australia trade spat are being hopeful with new customers in sight. Australia’s cotton industry has diversified since China stopped buying. Cotton growers, who are expected to receive high returns for their produce this year, are making some inroads into Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Bangladesh. Australian growers and shippers claim Chinese spinning mills were told last October to stop buying Australia-grown cotton, and the billion-dollar a year trade essentially stopped.
The Australian department of agriculture will not say what the cost to farmers has been of higher tariffs and unofficial customs bans across a range of commodities.
“It’s not all doom and gloom,” Toowoomba-based cotton trader and industry analyst Pete Johnson was quoted as saying about China’s exit from the Australian market by an Australian newspaper.
Johnson estimated growers would lose a $10-$20 a bale premium without China in the market, but that returns to growers this year were expected to be ‘historically high’. “Spreading that risk is ultimately not a bad thing for the industry,” he added.