Global Markets: Cotton – Expansion of U.S. Exports Supports 2nd Highest Level on Record

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U.S. export shipments through 11 months of the 2016/17 marketing year are running more than 70 percent ahead of year-ago levels, keeping them on track to reach the USDA forecast of 14.5 million bales, the second highest level on record.

The increase in exports is widely distributed across markets, with exports up in 20 of the 25 largest U.S. markets. Among the top 10 markets, only Mexico and Turkey have not exhibited robust growth. Mexico’s mill use has been declining and the United States has a pre-existing near-100% share of the import market, therefore export growth to Mexico is limited.

Export growth in Turkey has been constrained by a much larger domestic crop which has reduced overall import demand by over 25%. The increase in U.S. exports represents a large increase in the U.S. market share of Turkey’s imports.

Globally, strong U.S. exports reflect improved market share in many markets, as the global consumption recovery has only modestly raised world import demand.

Vietnam is likely to remain the largest market for U.S. cotton with shipments up 70 percent as import demand continues to expand and the already strong U.S. market share grows, perhaps reaching 60 percent this season. Continuing expansion of Vietnam’s mill use has supported extremely robust sales this year.

Cotton Commentary

Shipments have nearly tripled to China, India, Indonesia, and Pakistan as U.S. cotton has captured a greater market share alongside substantial expansion of total imports in these countries. With exports to China up by nearly 200 percent, it is now set to be the second largest U.S. market, after having fallen to fifth place in 2015/16, its lowest ranking in 15 years.

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