What is in this article?:
• Cotton stocks have risen considerably over the last 2 years as a result of recent record cotton prices that encouraged increased production but reduced demand.
In the Southeast, the cotton crop is estimated at 5.1 million bales, the highest in 7 years, as the regional yield improved to a record 900 pounds per harvested acre. The Southeast cotton crop has risen for five consecutive seasons.
In the Delta, the crop is currently estimated at nearly 4 million bales, down from last season but equal to the 5-year average.
The average yield is expected to reach 967 pounds per harvested acre, the third highest on record.
Likewise, in the West, the upland cotton crop is forecast at 1.2 million bales, down from last year but above the 5-year average. The West’s yield is projected at a record 1,542 pounds per harvested acre.
In addition, California continues to account for most of the extra-long staple (ELS) crop. ELS production is forecast at 657,000 bales, 23 percent below 2011, with California contributing more than 95 percent of the total.
Total 2012 U.S. cotton harvested area is estimated at 10.4 million acres, about 1 million acres above last season, despite a lower planted area.
The national yield is forecast at 795 pounds per harvested acre, 5 pounds higher than the 2011 yield but 19 pounds below the 5-year average.
The U.S. cotton demand estimate for 2012/13 was lowered slightly this month as higher foreign production and reduced imports — particularly by China — are projected to keep U.S. cotton demand from expanding from last season.
U.S. demand is currently forecast at 15 million bales, with exports accounting for 11.6 million bales (77 percent of the total) and mill use contributing the remainder.
Foreign stocks jumped dramatically last season and begin this season at a record 66.2 million bales. However, over 45 percent of the total is estimated to be held by China, where national reserve policies account for the buildup.
Meanwhile, forecast imports by China are down by more than 50 percent, which will reduce world trade this season. The U.S. share of world trade is forecast at 32 percent, above last season but below the 5-year average of about 36 percent.
As a result of the latest supply and demand estimates, U.S. ending stocks were revised upward in October to 5.6 million bales, two-thirds more than the final 2011/12 ending stock estimate. The stocks-to-use ratio is forecast at 37 percent compared with last season’s 22 percent. Both the stock level and the ratio are at their highest in 4 years.