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February 7, 2018updated 12 Apr 2021 2:34pm

International cotton prices continue to climb

International cotton prices are continuing to move upward, with the Cotlook A index during January averaging 91 cents per pound.

By Beth Wright

International cotton prices are continuing to move upward, with the Cotlook A index during January averaging 91 cents per pound.

This compares with a 2017/18 season to date average of 82.4 cents per pound, according to new figures from the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC).

The competing price of polyester has risen over the course of the season and continues to increase relative to cotton, even as cotton prices have moved upward, the inter-governmental body says.

It also notes that prices have risen from a low of 77 cents per pound at the start of season, and compare with the 2016/17 average of 83 cents per pound.

In its latest update, ICAC also adjusts its forecasts for world cotton production, with the latest projection pointing to a slight increase during the 2017/18 season to 25.5m, compared with its January forecast of 25.4m tonnes.

Consumption has been greater than production for the past two seasons. While both consumption and production are experiencing growth since the 2015/16 season, global production is increasing at a faster rate, coming off the gains in planted area rather than yields this season.

Northern hemisphere production, which accounts for 88% of world production, is estimated at 22.5m tonnes for the 2017/18 season, an increase of 12% from the 2016/17 season. Production increases are expected in major exporting countries in the southern hemisphere.

Meanwhile, current estimates for the season have consumption at 25.4m tonnes, while global average yield for 2017/18 is currently estimated at 773 kilograms per hectare, a 1% decrease from the previous season with a 12% growth in planted area. India and Pakistan, with estimated area increases of 16% and 24% respectively, encountered production losses from pink bollworm this season.

Global trade is projected at 8.2m tonnes this season, with Bangladesh and China estimated at 19% and 16% of global share respectively. East Asia’s volume of imports continues to increase and could represent about 36% of global share or 2.95m tonnes.

However, the US will continue to lead all exporters in 2017/18 with 39% of the global share and 3.2m tonnes. Australian exports, meanwhile, are projected to continue growing reaching 944,000 tonnes and accounting for 11.4% of global share, while India, despite a lower than expected production is projected to export 935,000 tonnes representing 11.3% of global exports.

In 2017/18, world ending stocks are estimated at 18.9m tonnes, slightly higher than the 18.7m tonnes for the previous season.

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