By Seshadri Ramkumar, Texas Tech University, USA
India’s cotton crop production for the current season (October 2017-September 2018) is estimated to be 36 million bales (170 Kgs each).
According to Mumbai-based Cotton Association of India (CAI), crop arrival till the end of April was about 31.1 million bales. Total consumption during the current year till end of April (seven months) has been 18.9 million bales, averaging 2.7 million bales per month. By the end of April, about 86% of crop has arrived in the market.
Total supply for the full season ending this September is estimated to be 41 million bales (170 Kgs each). Total domestic consumption during the season will be 32.4 million bales. Exports according to CAI will be 6.5 million bales.
An expert on Indian cotton market based in Mumbai stated however, there is some hope among traders that the export will be about 7 million. Given the uncertain situation regarding tariff by China on imports from United States and the weakening of Indian rupee against dollar will be of some boost to Indian exports.
In November of last year, Indian production was expected to be about 37 million bales, but pink bollworm infestation in Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh has reduced the output. However, stakeholders are paying close attention to this issue during the forthcoming planting season so that India’s leading cotton producing state, Gujarat does not face this insect situation.
There is a need for quality cotton and the price difference between quality and average cotton is widening stated the Indian expert.
Indian meteorological department has predicted timely rainfall during this June-September timeframe, which will determine planting intentions. However, chances for diversification is also there as in 2017-18, edible oil sector performed well.