The timing and manner of the liquidation of global cotton stocks will help define the fundamentals of the world market for several years to come, according to the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC).

At ICAC's 73rd Plenary Meeting, held this year in Thessaloniki, Greece, delegates were told that world cotton consumption in 2014/15 was projected to be below production for the fifth consecutive season, allowing stocks to reach record levels.

Prices were falling and the temptation for countries to intervene in defence of their growers was increasing, they heard.

But more intervention "would only postpone adjustments and lead to increased challenges for participants in the cotton value chain in the long run", the ICAC secretariat said.

Among the other topics discussed were the promotion of demand, measuring sustainability, contract sanctity and price volatility.

ICAC member countries noted the importance of promoting demand for cotton and endorsed efforts to encourage consumption. While cotton has many competitive advantages and is highly valued by consumers, in recent years its competitiveness has been damaged by high prices - although these are now coming down and cotton is more competitive with man-made fibres.

Plenary meetings over the next three years will be held in India, Pakistan and Mozambique respectively.