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Cotton imports likely to have doubled in 2018-19

India’s cotton imports are estimated to be twice their value in 2018-19 compared to the previous year to an unprecedented 3.1 million bales. This is owing to the drop in production to its lowest level in the past nine years, which is compelling textile manufacturers to increase purchases from abroad.

The cotton crop output is estimated at 31.5 million bales for the season, a decline by 600,000 bales over the previous year, according to Atul Ganatra, president, Cotton Association of India (CAI). This is attributed to acute water shortages in the cotton cultivating regions of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Telangana and Karnataka and uprooting of plants by farmers in 70-80% of the area before the 3rd and 4th rounds of picking.

India’s exports during the year are expected to have dropped by 33.3% YoY to 4.7 million bales. This drop is an opening for competitors like US, Brazil and Australia to ramp up their exports to major Asian markets like China, Pakistan and Bangladesh.