USDA is projecting a 1 million-bale increase over last month in cotton exports for 2009-10, thanks to new export sales of more than 1.8 million bales made in January.

A drop in the New York futures market and recent lower prices for U.S. cotton, combined with strong foreign mill demand boosted the prospects, according to USDA’s Feb. 9 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

U.S. cotton ending stocks are now forecast at 3.3 million bales, 21.4 percent of total use. If realized, this would be the lowest stocks-to-use ratio since 2003-04. USDA forecast a range of 59 to 65 cents per pound for the marketing-year average price received by producers.

Increases in cotton consumption were indicated for China and India, based on a stronger estimated recovery in demand than previously anticipated. World ending stocks were raised marginally from last month.

Corn used for ethanol was projected 100 million bushels higher than last month due to greater ethanol producer returns. Corn exports for 2009-10 are projected 50 million bushels lower on increased competition from Argentina. Ending stocks are projected 45 million bushels lower. The projected marketing-year average farm price for corn was narrowed 5 cents on both ends of the range to $3.45 to $3.95 per bushel.

Projected U.S. soybean ending stocks for 2009-10 were reduced to 210 million bushels, down 35 million from last month due to increased exports and crush. Although a record South American harvest is expected to reach the market in coming weeks, tight old-crop South American supplies resulting from last year’s historic drought in Argentina continue to support U.S. exports, according to USDA.

The U.S. season-average soybean price range for 2008-09 is projected at $8.70 to $10.20 per bushel, down 20 cents on both ends of the range.

Projected global soybean production was raised 1.6 million tons to 255 million tons. Soybean production for Brazil is projected at 66 million tons, up 1 million tons from last month.

U.S. wheat ending stocks for 2009-10 are projected 5 million bushels higher based on expected shipments of South American and European feed quality wheat into the Southeast. The projected marketing-year average farm price was narrowed 5 cents on both ends of the range to $4.75 to $4.95 per bushel.

Global wheat supplies for 2009-10 are projected 1.4 million tons higher reflecting production increases for Argentina and Ukraine.

Global wheat imports and exports for 2009-10 were also raised, reflecting higher expected shipments for Argentina and increased regional trade for Turkey and larger supplies for Argentina.

Global wheat consumption for 2009-10 was raised 1.1 million tons on higher feeding in Canada and increased food use in Afghanistan. Projected global ending stocks rose 300,000 tons.

e-mail: erobinson@farmpress.com