As per the data released by International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), the volume of cotton traded internationally is expected to decline by 8 per cent to 8.1 million tons in 2014-15, driven by reduced shipments to China from a record of 5.3 million tons in 2011-12 to an anticipated 2.1 million tons 2014-15. While the increased volume of trade benefited many exporting countries and farmers, it did not reflect improved demand for cotton.
In 2011-12 when imports increased by 26 per cent to 9.8 million tons, world consumption decreased by 7 per cent to 22.8 million tons, the smallest consumption since 2003-04. While world consumption is forecast to increase by 3 per cent to 24.2 million tons in 2014-15, below the level seen in the seven years before international cotton prices spiked.
In 2011-12, China implemented its policy of buying domestic and imported cotton for its national reserve and consequently became a large importer of cotton. Since 2011-12, the high price of cotton in China hurt its spinning industry, but helped the spinning industry in other countries, such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Vietnam. In 2012-13, the season after China’s implementation of its new cotton policy, India’s consumption grew by 12 per cent to 4.8 million tons and is expected to grow by 7 per cent to 5.4 million tons in 2014-15. Similarly, Pakistan’s consumption grew by 9 per cent to 2.4 million tons in 2012-13 and is forecast to grow by 3 per cent to 2.6 million tons in 2014-15.
Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Vietnam also saw similar growth in 2012-13 in consumption and should continue growing in 2014-15, though at a slower rate. In contrast, China’s consumption fell by 4 per cent in 2012-13 to 8.3 million tons and is expected to fall by 1 per cent in 2014-15 to 7.8 million tons.
In 2014-15, exports from Greece and the CFA zone are forecast to rise by 6 per cent and 3 per cent, respectively. However, exports from other large producing countries are expected to decrease in 2014-15. The United States’ exports are expected to decrease by 1 per cent to 2.26 million tons while Australia’s exports are expected to decrease by 23 per cent to about 800,000 tons. Additionally, India, the second largest exporter, could see a decrease of 21 per cent to 1.1 million tons in 2014-15 as more of its cotton is consumed domestically.
World ending stocks are forecast to increase by 12 per cent in 2013-14 to 20 million tons, and then to expand by another 5 per cent in 2014-15 to 20.1 million tons. Additionally, ending stocks outside of China are expected to increase by 7 per cent to 9.1 million tons in 2014/15 as China will be importing less of the surplus production than in the last two seasons. The projected accumulation of cotton stocks will weigh on international cotton prices in 2014-15, particularly as more stocks will be held outside of China.