Cotton and Wool Outlook, April 2018
World Cotton Stocks To Rise Slightly in 2017/18
The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cotton projections for 2017/18 indicate that global ending stocks are forecast at 88.3 million bales, about 2 percent (1.5 million bales) above the previous season but the second lowest since 2011/12. World cotton stocks are projected to rise in 2017/18 after back-to-back decreases from 2014/15’s recent high of 110.8 million bales.
China accounted for the bulk of global stocks in 2014/15—nearly 67 million bales of the total—following a policy-driven buildup that began a few years earlier (fig. 1). Since 2014/15, China’s stocks have declined as policies to reduce the excess cotton supplies also discouraged production and limited imports. In 2017/18, China’s cotton stocks are forecast at 41.0 million bales, 15 percent below last season and the lowest in 6 years; if realized, China’s ending stocks would be nearly 26 million bales below the record set in 2014/15. Meanwhile, stocks in the United States and for the rest of the world are projected to increase in 2017/18, largely due to increased production. As a result, China’s share of global cotton supplies are projected to decline for a second consecutive year from 61 percent in 2015/16 to 46 percent at the end of 2017/18.