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US cotton industry closely watching China

The United States’ cotton sector is keeping a close watch on China to see if its imports are on the rise. Addressing a gathering in Lubbock’s Bayer Museum of Agriculture, John Robinson, Professor and extension economist at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, noted, sometime in next few years, hopes are high that China’s overall import levels may rise and may even be back to 16 million bales. Low micronaire has been an issue this season following lack of maturity due to cold and cloudy weather in August. Commenting on this, Steve Verett, Producer and Executive Vice President of PCG stated, “Definitely below average micronaire for our area and not what we strive to produce.”

As for current market situation, there is demand for cotton. With economy recovering slowly, consumer will start spending and so nonessential commodity buying will start to rise. Observing the recent export sales figures, Robinson noted if exports follow the current trend, cotton exports from the US may be above the USDA’s estimate of 14.8 million bales (489 lbs. each). He expects USDA cold raise their estimate by about half a million bales.

There is still hope for enhanced imports by China in the next few years. According to John Robinson, demand will be a positive influence and the need for newer stock as China’s reserves are around 6 years old. When Chinese import improves, it will be a game changer, he added.


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