Falling China Imports Impact Exporters Differently

The world’s five largest cotton exporters -- the United States, India, Australia, Uzbekistan, and Brazil -- supplied over eighty percent of China’s imports last season. With China forecast to cut imports by half this year, the impact on these exporters is expected to be substantially different.

India is expected to bear the brunt of falling imports by China as its exports are forecast to drop by nearly 50 percent. India’s exports to the Chinese market increased sharply when China was buying domestic cotton for the state reserve. Indian cotton is a ready substitute for Chinese and, in addition, its low price allowed it to ship cotton at the full 40 percent tariff rate in 2013/14. This year, India’s Minimum Support Price program is likely to preclude full-tariff shipments; in addition, import demand from China is likely to focus on machine-picked cotton not available from domestic supplies. As a result, India will struggle to maintain its share in the shrinking Chinese market and stocks will rise sharply.

Australia relied even more on the Chinese market with nearly two-thirds of its exports going to China last season. Although Australia produces the machine-picked cotton, preferred by Chinese mills, a dramatically smaller crop will limit exportable supply and as a result exports are forecast to drop by nearly 40 percent. Despite this, endings stocks are forecast to fall sharply.

The United States, Brazil, and Uzbekistan were much less dependent on the Chinese market in 2013/14 and will see proportionately smaller decreases in their 2014/15 exports. In fact, for Brazil, which had the least reliance on China, total exports are forecast to rise on larger supply and shipments to other destinations.

Overview

For 2014/15, world ending stocks are up slightly as lower consumption more than offsetting reduced production. Total trade is down marginally. U.S. production and ending stocks are down. The midpoint of forecast range for the season average U.S. farm price is raised 1.5 cents to 61.5 cents/pound.

Prices

The A-Index and spot prices continue to drift downward as northern hemisphere crops arrive on the market in the face of weak demand.

2014/15 TRADE CHANGES

Major Exporters:

• Greece is down 100,000 bales to 1.0 million on a smaller crop.

Major Importers:

• India is raised 300,000 bales to 1.1 million as their support program raises domestic prices.

• Turkey is lowered 200,000 bales to 3.6 million on lower use.

• Pakistan is down 100,000 bales to 1.4 million on lower use.

• Thailand is down 100,000 bales to 1.45 million on lower use