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Egyptian cotton exports fall due to declining cultivation

Egyptian cotton exports declined by 69.7 per cent in the third quarter of the agricultural season 2013-2014. This is due to the decrease of cultivated area as a result of farmers’ opting to grow other more profitable crops. The amount of local cotton consumed decreased by 68.4 per cent as a result of the increase in cotton imports as well as the shutting down of a number of spinning factories.

The amount of ginned cotton decreased by 18.7 per cent during the period between March and May 2014. Egypt’s cotton exports have been hit by a local hike in prices this year, following a decline in local production brought about by reduced acreage and the lifting of an import ban. Before the ban 70 per cent of Egypt’s spinning capacity, held by its public sector spinning companies, was dependent on cheaper, imported cotton. The ban forced them to purchase local produce, but this year this is no longer the case, and prices are higher because last year’s local stocks have been largely exhausted as a result of the ban.

As local public sector companies refrain from purchasing local cotton, importers abroad are making smaller incremental orders hoping that prices will drop throughout the season.