China shifts towards imports of cotton yarn

A chart showing China's cotton yarn imports.

Mill use of cotton in China—the world’s largest spinner of raw cotton into yarn—is projected to remain steady at 36 million bales for 2013/14 (August/July), but has declined over the last decade while imports of cotton yarn have increased. With China’s Government maintaining a policy that sets a high domestic floor price for raw cotton, domestic prices remain above world prices, creating an incentive for China’s textile industry to import more lower-priced cotton yarn from the world market. Data for the last three seasons indicate the growth in China’s cotton yarn imports, which reached an equivalent of nearly 8.3 million bales of raw cotton in 2012/13, more than double the level imported in 2010/11. The largest yarn suppliers to China during this period were Pakistan, India, and Vietnam, with the three countries accounting for 72 percent of China’s cotton yarn imports during the past two seasons. Along with China’s shift to more imports of cotton yarn, global raw cotton trade is only expected to reach 39 million bales in 2013/14, 17 percent below the record of 46.7 million bales set in 2012/13, as China’s raw cotton imports fall about 9.3 million bales. This chart can be found in the Cotton and Wool Chart Gallery with analysis in Cotton and Wool Outlook: September 2013.

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