By  on March 2, 2011

WASHINGTON — The International Cotton Advisory Committee on Tuesday projected that worldwide cotton production will increase 9 percent to 127 million bales in the 2011-2012 season, as farmers plant more in response to spiraling raw cotton prices and increased demand that has gripped the industry.

On the Cotlook A index, cotton prices, which have created havoc in the apparel and textile industries’ pricing structures all the way through to retail, are expected to hover around $1.61 a pound in this new season, after hitting a record high of $2.33 a pound on Feb. 18, the committee said.

“Although prices are expected to decline from current record levels, it is likely that prices will stay substantially higher than the average of 60 cents per pound that prevailed during the past decade,” the ICAC said.

Higher raw materials prices and competition from synthetic fibers are expected to limit textile mill use of cotton during the season to 117 million bales, a 3 percent increase from the prior year. India, Pakistan, China and Turkey are expected to account for the largest increase in mill use.

Total acreage devoted to cotton globally is expected to jump 7 percent to 36 million hectares, or 89 million acres, the largest commitment in 17 years, according to the committee.

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