World Cotton Market: U.S. Share of World Trade Rises as Exports Expand

    U.S. exports in 2016/17 are forecast at 11.5 million bales, 25 percent above the 2015/16 level. Although total world trade expected to decline slightly in 2016/17, the U.S. share of world trade is expected to increase to 34 percent, the highest level since 2010/11, due mainly to an expected 3.3 million bale increase in production.

    Offsetting the U.S. increase are declines for several other major competitors. India is expected to see the largest decline, falling 30 percent or 1.9 million bales. With lower beginning stocks, an expected drop in imports by Pakistan, and a likely continued loss of market share in China, India’s exports will be at their lowest level since 2008/09.

    Turkmenistan is also expected to see a significant fall in exports as reforms in its marketing system over the last couple of seasons have drawn previously excessive stocks down to their lowest level in nearly a decade.

    U.S. exports are likely to expand in several major markets. China’s imports are expected to remain at near the 2015/16 level; however, U.S. market share is likely to increase from the level seen in 2015/16, which was the lowest level in over a decade. Due to the benefits of the NAFTA agreement, U.S. exports to Mexico are likely to capture nearly all of the expected increase in imports.

    The large drop in Pakistan’s import demand should not have a significant effect on U.S. exports, where the United States has traditionally held a small market share, less than 10 percent. U.S. market share in Turkey should recover from the low levels of the last two seasons as uncertainty regarding the implications of Turkey’s antidumping case against U.S. cotton has been reduced.

    Cotton Commentary

    The U.S. share of Turkey’s imports has recovered recently and a return to historical market share levels for 2016/17 would offset the decline in Turkey’s total imports. U.S. export share will likely increase in other markets, due to tighter supplies for other major exporters.

    Strong export sales in the first month of 2016/17 support the higher U.S. export forecast. Total commitments at the beginning of September are 1.8 million bales above the year-ago level. This represents three-quarters of the total increase forecast for U.S. exports for the season. Accumulated exports are roughly 50 percent above year-ago levels.

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