Expectations of a record cotton yield this year in the US may be dashed. The main reason is the hurricane damage to crops. The US cotton yield estimate was downgraded by 19 pounds per acre. The downgrade – which followed a reassessment of crops in the light of Hurricane Harvey, which ravaged south east Texas, and Hurricane Irma, which struck further east – reflected reductions to expectations for both harvested area and yield.
The estimate for US cotton exports for 2017-18 is reduced too due to reduced US production and strong competitor shipments. The impact of the revisions has been to cut the estimate for the country’s cotton stocks at the close of the season by 2,00,000 bales.
On the other hand cotton shipments from Australia are expected to rise by 3,00,000 bales. The forecast for exports from India, the second-ranked shipper after the US, was lifted by 4,00,000 bales thanks to strong domestic production. Import expectations were raised notably for Vietnam, by 3,00,000 bales, on greater global supplies and attractive pricing. China may be poised to loosen import restrictions, after a second successful year of auctions to run down state inventories. However, China’s cotton import policy remains a major wildcard.