A declining trend in cotton prices is set to continue, the
International Cotton Advisory Committee said, warning over the impact of smaller
Chinese imports, and the delay until the market will receive support from lower
China – the world's biggest cotton producer, consumer and
importer – will keep domestic values of the fibre steady, thanks to a farm support
programme which sets a floor price to growers of 20,400 remninbi per tonne.
However, China's reduced requirement for imports, after a
stockpiling programme last season, will continue to undermine international
prices, the ICAC said.
The committee pegged China's imports in 2012-13 at 2.5m
tonnes, a slump of more than one-half, and below the US Department of
Agriculture estimate of 2.61m tonnes.
'Drive prices down'
The drop in Chinese imports will fuel a rise in inventories
in other countries, where inventories are expected to grow by 16% to 9m tonnes,
reducing the pressure on buyers to compete for supplies, and so signalling weak
"With this projected fall in Chinese imports, the outlook in
the rest of the world is conducive to lower international prices in 2012-13,"
the committee, an intergovernmental group, said.
"In September, international cotton prices declined
slightly, whereas Chinese cotton prices increased a little bit.
"This might indicate price directions over the next few
Outside China, "the pressure of accumulating stocks,
combined with weak demand, could drive cotton prices down".
Sowings to drop
Prices will "eventually receive some support" from the
impact of weak values in persuading farmers to switch to other crops, so
potentially moving towards eroding record world inventories.
The committee forecast "lower plantings", although this would
not kick in to the big northern hemisphere producing countries, including top
exporters the US and India, until 2013-14.
Cotton for December recouped early losses to close up 0.9% at 70.85 cents a pound in New York.
The average price so far in 2012-13 of the Cotlook A index
of physical prices, which in including shipping tend to be higher than futures,
is 84 cents a pound, compared with 100 cents a pound last season and 164 cents
a pound in 2010-11, according to the ICAC.