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US cotton buyers switch to India

The world’s top cotton buyers, all in Asia, are flocking to India to secure sup¬plies after fierce storms in the US, the biggest exporter of the fiber, affected the size and quality of the crop. In the past week alone, India sealed deals to sell about a million bales to China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Harvey and Irma caused widespread damage to the crop in Texas and Georgia.

Buyers are switching to Indian cotton. There are other cotton producers like Brazil and Australia but they may find it difficult to match the price offered by India, where a bumper harvest is likely to keep rates lower. In 2016, the United States exported 86 per cent of its cotton, 69 per cent of which went to Asia.

India is the world’s second biggest cotton exporter. Farmers are likely to harvest a record 40 million bales of cotton in the 2017-18 season, bring¬ing domestic prices down and making exports even more competitive. For the 2017-18 season, farmers have planted 12.1 million hectares with cotton, up 19 per cent from a year earlier. India harvested 34.5 million bales of cotton in the 2016-17 season. Favorable crop conditions would help India sell 7.5 million bales of cotton on the world market in 2017-18 against six million bales in the previous year.