MUMBAI, India (Reuters) — India, the world's second-biggest cotton producer, on Wednesday raised its export forecast for the crop year ending September by 27 percent with demand strong for buyers beyond China.
The new estimate of 11.4 million bales is also higher than India's shipments last year and could further pressure New York cotton futures that hit their lowest in about one and half years on Tuesday. One Indian bale equals about 374.7 pounds.
China, which accounts for more than 60 percent of total raw cotton exports from India, is unwinding its stockpile scheme that kept demand high for years.
But India's textile commissioner Kiran Soni Gupta said that apart from China, countries such as Bangladesh, Turkey, Indonesia and Cambodia are fast lapping up cotton from India to feed their export-focused garment industries.
"There is a good global demand and we need to add on to our value addition like manufacturing and processing capacities," she told reporters.
To encourage value addition, India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi has in the past urged farmers to adopt what he calls his "five F" formula: farm to fibre to fabric to fashion to foreign.
Gupta also raised the estimate for cotton output this crop year to 39 million bales from 37.5 million bales as yields have risen by a tenth to about 1,246 pounds per about 2.5 acres.
Yields have been rising due to the increasing use of hybrid and genetically modified seeds, which have boosted sales for companies such as Kaveri Seed Co.
Despite rising production, exports are expected to trend lower in coming years as local mills raise consumption and China buys less.
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