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December 3, 2021

Cotton prices to remain at elevated levels throughout 2021/22

The international reference price of cotton has risen dramatically during the 2020/21 season and continues its rise into the 2021/22 season, with cotton prices at their highest point in a decade.

By Beth Wright

The coming season looks like a promising one for cotton farmers, with high cotton prices expected to continue through the 2021/22 season, the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) says in its latest update.

However, it notes prices are a double-edged sword. Higher-income for farmers is a good thing and it could drive them to increase the global acreage under cotton but those costs are usually passed along the supply chain, which makes cotton less competitive against other fibres.

Prices are expected to be volatile through the remainder of the 2021/22 season but it is unlikely they will climb much higher than the current point. The ICAC secretariat does not expect prices or volatility to reach those of the infamous 2010/11 season when prices ascended all the way to 243.65 cents per pound.

While mill use is expected to remain robust throughout 2021/22, global stocks are believed to be sufficient to meet the demand. At the end of the 2020/21 season, global stocks are estimated at 20.35m tonnes.

The secretariat’s current price forecast of the season-average A index for 2021/22 ranges from 91 cents to 119 cents, with a midpoint at 103.29 cents per pound.

Last month, the ICAC said global cotton production is poised to show a 6% year-over-year increase versus 2020/21, with the surge led by three of the world’s top five producers — US, Brazil, and Pakistan.

The body recently announced it has partnered with the International Trade Centre and is working to double the yields of at least 50,000 smallholder cotton farmers in Zambia by January 2024.

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