Shift in cotton spinning by major players has implications for global cotton trade

A chart showing the share in total cotton consumption by major spinners.

Globally, mill use of raw cotton to spin yarn has been increasing at about 1.4 percent annually since 2000, fueling the growth of trade in raw cotton, of which the United States is the largest global exporter. Mill use of raw cotton has been expanding in developing countries, where lower labor costs and other factors offer a comparative advantage in textile production. Recently, however, China’s policies have been discouraging mill use of cotton, leading to declines in both mill use and raw cotton imports by the world’s largest importer. This opens opportunities for other countries, including India, Pakistan, and Turkey, to continue to expand their textile sectors. Although India has a large cotton surplus, growth in demand for U.S. cotton exports is expected to shift to other markets with expanding textile sectors. This chart is found in the October 2012 Cotton and Wool Outlook, CWS-12H.

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