Market Outlook


Cotton and Wool Outlook: March 2021



Global Cotton Trade Rising to 8-Year High

The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates indicate that world cotton trade in 2020/21 is projected at 44.5 million bales—nearly 8 percent above 2019/20 and the highest export level since 2012/13. Leading the way are the United States and Brazil, where projected exports account for 35 percent and 22 percent, respectively, of the world total. In addition, India’s exports are expected to rebound. Meanwhile, the leading importers include China, Bangladesh, and Vietnam.

The rising world cotton trade is a result of increased mill demand expectations. Global cotton mill use in 2020/21 is projected at 117.5 million bales, 14.5 percent above last season’s 16-year low. On the other hand, world cotton production in 2020/21—led by China and India—is projected at 113.3 million bales, 7 percent below 2019/20 and the smallest crop in 4 years. With mill use exceeding production, global cotton stocks are forecast to decrease this season. World cotton stocks in 2020/21 are forecast at 94.6 million bales—a 4-percent reduction. Consequently, a lower global stocks-to-use ratio is also forecast in 2020/21 and supports the higher cotton prices experienced this season.


 See the Cotton and Wool Outlook.