Turkey is a growing consumer of US cotton

Turkey is a growing consumer of US cotton

Turkey has replaced China as the United States' top cotton export market - but the US industry does not expect the shift to last.

Turkey has received 1.68m bales (about 0.38m tonnes) and China 1.4m bales of the USA's total commitment (cotton already shipped plus contracts for cotton delivery not yet shipped) of 6.95m bales for the 2013-2014 crop year, figures from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) show.

"China is down rather than...they're [Turkey] up," said Jon Devine, senior economist at North Carolina, US-based research and marketing company Cotton Incorporated.

"What we're seeing really is Turkey...having a better than average year (in cotton

Total Turkish imports are 20% higher than in the previous crop year while Chinese total imports are about 30% lower.

A key factor in China's lower appetite in recent years is its cotton policy, which limits imports and maintains higher domestic prices to support local growers, Devine told just-style. China is expected to reform its policy this year.

While Turkey's growing consumption makes it "a very important destination" for the US, Chinese imports could rebound quickly depending on that reform, said Professor Jeffrey Silberman, executive director of the US-based, non-governmental International Forum for Cotton Promotion and chairperson of the textile development and marketing department at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology.

"There was some indication...they also wanted to be more open to cotton imports," he told just-style while stressing no reform details have been released.