World cotton mill use is expected to decline by 1 percent in 2008-09 to 26.2 million tons, due to slower global economic growth and higher prices of cotton relative to polyester, predicts the International Cotton Advisory Committee, an association of governments of cotton-producing and cotton-consuming countries. In its latest forecasts, ICAC also predicted:

• Cotton mill use is expected to decrease in Turkey, the United States, Brazil, the European Union, Mexico, Thailand, Russia, China (Taiwan), and the Republic of Korea. However, cotton mill use is expected to continue to increase, more slowly, in China (Mainland), Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam.

• World cotton production is expected to decline by 6 percent in 2008-09, to 24.7 million tons, due mainly to a decline in world cotton area caused by increased competition from alternative crops. The projected decrease in world production in 2008-09 is driven by an expected fall of 1.2 million tons in the United States, to 3 million tons.

• World imports are forecast up by 3 percent to 8.6 million tons in 2008-09. Imports by China (Mainland) are expected to increase significantly. However, imports by the rest of the world are projected down for the second consecutive season.

• World cotton stocks are forecast to decrease by 12 percent to 10.7 million tons in 2008-09.