Based on the most recent prices and the latest supply and demand estimates, the average upland cotton farm price is now forecast to range between 62 cents and 74 cents per pound.

The mid-point of 68 cents would represent a considerable decrease from last season’s final estimate of 88.3 cents per pound released by USDA in October.

The 2011/12 price was nearly 7 cents higher than the average price recorded for 2010/11. The lower price expectations for 2012/13 contributed to reduced cotton area and will play a key role in acreage decisions for 2013.

Global 2012/13 cotton production is forecast to decline 6 percent from the previous year to 116.3 million bales as the rising prices of competing crops and the declining price of the fiber render cotton cultivation less profitable.

Although lower compared with the previous year’s crop, October production numbers represent an upward revision of the previous month’s forecast, reflecting increases in the 2012/13 forecasts for Brazil, China, India, Pakistan, and the United States.

Brazil and China are forecast to produce 6.5 million bales and 31.5 million bales in 2012/13, respectively, a decrease of 25 percent and 5 percent from a year ago.

In China, official support for grains and the rising cost of cotton production are some of the factors contributing to the 2012/13 production decline. China’s harvested area is expected to decline 9 percent from a year ago to 5.0 million hectares in 2012/13.

In Brazil, relatively stronger prices for soybeans and lower foreign demand for cotton are expected to shift area from cotton production. Brazil’s 2012/13 area is forecast at 1.0 million hectares, down 29 percent from the preceding year.

India and Pakistan are expected to grow 25.5 million bales and 10.0 million bales in 2012/13, respectively, down 7 percent and 6 percent from a year earlier. Harvested area in India and Pakistan is forecast at 11.7 million hectares and 3.0 million hectares, respectively, down 4 percent and 6 percent from a year ago.

Australia and the United States are forecast to produce 4.3 million bales and 17.3 million bales, respectively, in 2012/13.

The 2012/13 crop forecast represents a 23-percent decrease in Australia and an 11-percent increase in the United States — the only major producer expected to increase production from the previous year.

Global harvested cotton area is forecast at 34.1 million hectares in 2012/13, a decrease of 5 percent from the preceding year. World 2012/13 yield is forecast at 743 kilograms per hectare.

World 2012/13 cotton consumption is forecast to increase 3.6 percent from a year earlier to 106.9 million bales. China — the world’s largest mill user — is expected to consume 36.0 million bales, a decrease of 2.0 million bales (5 percent) from the preceding year due to the Government’s ongoing high domestic support price.