Textile mills in South India are importing cotton from West Africa and the US. One reason is domestic and imported cotton prices are more or less at the same levels. But imported cotton appears to be attractive due to better yarn realisation, productivity and quality. Cotton imports may touch 30 lakh bales at the end of the 2016-17 season.
Incidentally, mills had imported cotton from West Africa last year too after the sharp increase in prices in the domestic market. Textile mills s in the country consume around 25 lakh bales of cotton a month. Mills in the South alone use about 10 lakh bales a month.
Cotton production in India for 2016-17 season is pegged at around 345 lakh bales. Cotton arrival as on March 20 was around 250 lakh bales compared to 260 lakh bales during the same period last year. Cotton prices have jumped 15.8 per cent since November. However a bumper cotton crop in Australia and the US would help in keeping prices under check. There has been a significant increase in cotton crop size in Australia and a 18 per cent increase in crop in the US. Since China has restricted its imports, the global cotton position is very comfortable.