(Adds details, new figures)
MUMBAI, July 2 India, the world's second-biggest
cotton producer, on Wednesday raised its export forecast for the
crop year ending September by 27 percent with demand strong for
buyers beyond China.
The new estimate of 11.4 million bales is also higher than
India's shipments last year and could further pressure New York
cotton futures that hit their lowest in about one and
half years on Tuesday. (1 Indian bale = 170 kg)
China, which accounts for more than 60 percent of total raw
cotton exports from India, is unwinding its stockpile scheme
that kept demand high for years.
But India's Textile Commissioner Kiran Soni Gupta said that
apart from China, countries such as Bangladesh, Turkey,
Indonesia and Cambodia are fast lapping up cotton from India to
feed their export-focused garment industries.
"There is a good global demand and we need to add on to our
value addition like manufacturing and processing capacities,"
she told reporters.
To encourage value addition, India's new Prime Minister
Narendra Modi has in the past urged farmers to adopt what he
calls his 'five F' formula: farm to fibre to fabric to fashion
Gupta also raised the estimate for cotton output this crop
year to 39 million bales from 37.5 million bales as yields have
risen by a tenth to 565 kg per hectare.
Yields have been rising due to the increasing use of hybrid
and genetically modified seeds, which have boosted sales for
companies such as Kaveri Seed Co.
Despite rising production, exports are expected to trend
lower in coming years as local mills raise consumption and China
(Reporting by Meenakshi Sharma, editing by William Hardy)