Supplies of cotton are likely to remain tight until the start of the harvest of the new crop in the northern hemisphere in August, an intergovernmental group has said, with prices also forecast to continue to rise in the year ahead.

The International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) also sees little change in world stocks at end the upcoming year, as higher world production will be offset by rising demand for the fibre.

The group forecasts that world cotton production will rise by 14% in 2010/11, to 25m tons.

This is based on an expansion in cotton plantings as farmers react to the rise in cotton prices during 2009/10 and the declining prices of grains and oilseeds.

It also says world cotton mill use is projected to continue to recover in 2010/11, growing by 2% to 24.9m tons, pushed by continued improvement in global economic growth but limited by high cotton prices and a slowing "restocking effect".

As global cotton production and mill use are forecast to almost balance in 2010/11, world ending stocks are expected to remain essentially unchanged at 9.6m tons. And the global stocks-to-use ratio is forecast to remain at 39% in 2010/11.

The ICAC raised its forecast for cotton prices in the 2010-11 marketing year, which starts next month, to 87 cents per pound - a rise of 12% over the 2009/10 forecast.