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Cotton production lowers prices

WASHINGTON — World cotton production is expected to increase by 7 percent next season — running about 200,000 tons ahead of consumption — holding prices to a level of an average of 58 cents a pound in the 2001/02 cotton season, about a penny less than this year's projected average price of 59 cents.

With cotton production on the rise, pushing sharply ahead of demand, cotton prices "leveled off somewhat in April, after falling 23 percent in three months," the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), a consortium of cotton producing nations, reported in its monthly outlook.

"Despite the expectation that imports by China will have to climb because consumption in that country is exceeding production and stocks are dwindling, demand has not picked up," said the ICAC. "Spinning mills have generally adopted a wait-and-see attitude in the hope of even lower prices. Over the last 25 years, cotton prices have been this low only twice, at the end of 1999 and in mid-1986."

WORLD COTTON SUPPLY AND PRICING FORECAST
(in millions of tons, except for cotton prices)

1999/00 (actual) 2000/01 (proj.) 2001/02 (proj.)
Source: International Cotton Advisory Council (ICAC)
Production 18.83 18.86 20.24
Consumption 19.84 19.80 20.06
Exports 6.11 6.01 6.34
Ending Stocks 8.87 7.93 8.12
Cotlook A Price Index $0.53 $0.59 $0.58


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