By  on December 30, 2008

The outlook for 2009 among producers if natural fibers such as wool and cotton has gone from bad to worse as brands and retailers have slashed orders in the face of a massive pullback in consumer spending.

Over the last several years, the U.S. cotton industry has seen steady declines in production as farmers increasingly devoted more of their acreage to higher-paying crops, such as corn, soy beans or almonds. The flight from cotton gained momentum throughout the year as economic conditions worsened, further increasing production surpluses and pushing cotton prices lower. A pound of cotton sold for more than 70 cents in February but had fallen as low as 37 cents a pound by November. Prices since have rebounded slightly but likely would have continued to slide if not for the intervention of several major governments.

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