The Indian government has extended the deadline for exporters to ship raw cotton from the country until the permitted limit of 5.5m bales has been met.

Registrations for the pre-set cotton export quotas were halted in October, after limits imposed for the 2010/11 season were reached just ten days after bookings began.

But while shipments were given a 45-day window which ended on 15 December, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has admitted that "actual exports under such registered contracts are much less than the quantity approved."

It now says: "The decision to permit export of 55 lakh bales only in the current cotton season stands," but has not given a new date by which shipments need to be completed.

In another change, the DGFT says it will take on responsibility for registering, inspecting and certifying all future raw cotton exports from India. Further details of the exact procedures will be announced once export quantities are determined.

India, the world's second-biggest producer and exporter of cotton, introduced a ban on raw cotton exports back in April, in an attempt to halt soaring price hikes and exports. Shipments resumed on 1 November, but the cap of 5.5m bales was imposed.