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Cotton crunch fueled by Asian imports

Washington – With China , India and Pakistan sucking up world cotton stocks as the most important textile manufacturing nations, those three countries combined now represent two-thirds of all world cotton consumption while they produce only half of the world's supply of the fiber.

In a monthly update of its annual supply and demand forecast, the International Cotton Advisory Council (ICAC), a worldwide consortium of cotton growers, said China, India and Pakistan will produce roughly 13 million tons of cotton during the current cotton year (2006/07), somewhat more than half of the 25.0 million tons of cotton forecast to be produced, setting a new industry benchmark.

Combined, the three nations will consume about 16 .6 million tons, or 65% of the entire supply of the entire world supply, said the cotton cartel. World cotton consumption is forecast to reach a level of 25.6 million tons this year , up about 3.3% from last year.

C onsumption worldwide is expected to outstrip production this year, and yet again during the 2007/08 cotton-growing year, said the ICAC. At a level of 25.6 million tons, cotton consumption this year is forecast to exceed production of 25.0 million tons by about 2.4%. Ditto next year, said the cotton growers, with consumption pegged at 26.2 million tons, about 1.9% forecast production of 25.7 million tons.

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