India’s 2012/13 production is estimated to decline 7 percent from the preceding year to 25.5 million bales, reflecting reductions in both harvested area and yield. Harvested area by the world’s second largest producer is estimated at 11.7 million hectares, down 4 percent from a year earlier and the highest year-to-year percentage decline in a decade.

An erratic monsoon affected the 2012 crop development by reducing yield prospects in a country where 75 percent of cotton production is rainfed. India’s 2012/13 yield is estimated at 475 kg/hectare.

Pakistan is estimated to produce 9.6 million bales in 2012/13, down 9 percent from the previous year. Relatively poor pre-monsoon rains delayed planting and moisture was reduced from the abundant rains received in 2011.

Pakistan’s 2012/13 area harvested is estimated at 3.0 million hectares, unchanged from a year ago, while yield is estimated at 697 kg/hectare, down 9 percent from the previous year.

Brazil’s 2012/13 production is estimated at 6.5 million bales, down 25 percent from the previous year, as sharply higher prices for soybeans and corn reduced cotton area from the record levels of 2010/11 and 2011/12.

Brazil — the top producer in the southern hemisphere — is expected to harvest an area of 1.0 million hectares in 2012/13, down 29 percent from a year ago. Brazil’s 2012/13 yield is estimated at 1,415 kg/hectare, up nearly 5 percent from the previous year.

Australia is estimated to produce 4.2 million bales in 2012/13, down 24 percent from the previous year. Dry planting conditions, weaker world cotton prices and a more profitable sorghum alternative explain the lower 2012/13 crop.

Australia’s 2012/13 harvested area is estimated at 445,000 hectares, down 23 percent from the previous year. Australia’s yield is estimated at 2,055 kg/hectare, about unchanged from the preceding year.

The African Franc Zone (AFZ) is expected to produce 4.2 million bales in 2012/13, up 37 percent from the previous year and the largest year-to-year growth in over a decade. The AFZ’s rising production reflects both a lagged area response to previously higher world cotton prices and higher yields due to favorable growing conditions.

Also, some AFZ countries, such as Burkina and Mali, have increased their use of Bt cotton. The AFZ’s 2012/13 harvested area is estimated at nearly 2.2 million hectares, an increase of 20 percent from the preceding year, while the average yield of 411 kg/hectare is estimated 14 percent higher.

China is forecast to add 12.4 million bales to total ending stocks during 2012/13, despite sharply lower imports. As in 2011/12, domestic policies designed to support farmers continue to drive stock building. China’s stocks on July 31, 2012 were an estimated 30 million bales, equivalent to about 80 percent of 2011/12 domestic consumption, the highest stocks-to-use since 2000/01.

Roughly two-thirds of the 2012/13 beginning stocks were held by the state reserve, the vast majority having been purchased in 2011/12.

The announced 2012/13 support price of 20,400 RMB/ton ($1.47/lb.) apparently has been effective in supporting farm income and stabilizing production, which is currently estimated at 34 million bales, up 3 percent from the previous year.

With nearly 85 percent of the total 2012 crop expected to be purchased by the state reserve, the support program continues to maintain internal prices substantially above world price levels. As a result, China’s consumption is expected to fall nearly 7 percent, despite modest growth in world demand, as the textile industry substitutes cheaper man-made fiber and imported cotton yarn in finished goods.

At an estimated 35.5 million bales, China’s cotton consumption has fallen nearly 30 percent in three years from the 50 million bales realized in 2009/10.