Exports of Egypt's cotton in the 2016-17 season have risen 19 per cent. Last year Egypt banned all but the highest quality cotton seed in order to save its historic crop, dramatically reducing the area under cultivation to about 1,30,000 acres, a more than 100-year low.
Egypt is now looking to scale that cultivation back up. The area planted rose to about 2,20,000 acres this year and is expected to hit up to 5,00,000 acres in the next two to three years. So the area under cultivation is growing and exports growing so that Egyptian cotton can now be sold at a price that's less than California pima.
Egypt, last November, floated its currency, roughly halving it in value and making its exports relatively cheap on international markets, a boon for Egyptian cotton traders able to source higher quality cotton after the new regulations. They see Egypt able to more than double its global market share within three years to capture about 20 per cent of a small but high-end market that trades some 5,00,000 tons of long-staple cotton per year. Egyptian long staple cotton is famously used for luxury linens. It trades at a high premium compared to the more common short-staple cotton.