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Economic recovery spurs increase in cotton imports by Thailand

Spinning mills in Thailand are expected to recover from the economic downturn of the past few years. Therefore, cotton imports 2016-17 are expected to increase to around 1.4 million bales, up approximately 6 per cent from2015-16.

Imports of US cotton in 2016-17 are expected to increase to 450,000 bales, up 6 per cent from 2015-16. Large-scale spinning mills which account for approximately 60 per cent of total cotton yarn production still maintain their competitive edge in domestic and export markets as they have invested in new machinery and improved their production efficiency. However, competition from cheaper yarn imports from Vietnam and India will likely remain a challenge to domestic yarn producers, particularly for small-scale spinning mills.

Cotton imports in 2015-16 were lower than expected at around 1.3 million bales, down 13 percent from 14-15. This reflected a reduction in cotton and cotton-blended yarn production which declined approximately 5 percent as spinning mills were forced to hold large inventories of yarn. Imports of cotton yarn increased 44 per cent from 2014-15 with cotton yarn imports from Vietnam and India doubling. Additionally, exports of cotton yarn declined 28 per cent, particularly to China and Japan due to an economic slowdown and competition from Vietnam.

Imports of US cotton in 2015-16 declined to 424,113 bales, down 15 per cent from 2014-15. However, US cotton still maintained its market share accounting for approximately one third of total cotton import demand. Meanwhile, medium-scale spinners who limited their purchases to cheap cotton to maintain their operations imported more Brazilian cotton.