June 12, 2018 / 4:04 AM / 6 days ago

UPDATE 1-China increases estimate for 2018/19 cotton imports

    * Higher due to a larger-than-expected production deficit
    * Some traders say the forecast still too low
    * Good weather has helped soybean crops -ministry

 (Adds comment, background, detail)
    BEIJING, June 12 (Reuters) - China will import 1.4 million
tonnes of cotton in the 2018/19 crop year, its agriculture
ministry said on Tuesday, raising its forecast from last month's
1.2 million tonnes.
    The higher estimate was due to a larger-than-expected
production deficit, with Chinese consumption of the fibre
growing 1.2 percent from the previous year's level to 8.4
million tonnes, it said.
    But some traders said the forecast was still too low, with
one estimating imports in the range of 1.5 million to 2.5
million tonnes.
    Agricultural commodities have been at the heart of festering
trade frictions between China and the United States.

    Meanwhile, the ministry repeated that domestic cotton output
would fall 5.8 percent to 5.6 million tonnes due to a reduction
in planting.
    "China's cotton production deficit next year is clear," the
ministry said in a statement released with its monthly Chinese
Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (CASDE).
    The forecast comes as the global market waits for Beijing to
issue additional import quotas to mills that will allow them to
boost their purchases of overseas cotton.
    The ministry added that although storms and low temperatures
had hit top growing region Xinjiang, overall the weather was
normal, with yields expected to fall less than 1 percent.
    Good weather in the northeast has also helped soybean crops,
said the ministry, raising its estimate for output of the
oilseed by 100,000 tonnes to 15.37 million tonnes.
    In the southwestern Guangxi region, however, high
temperatures and low rainfall in May hampered sugarcane growth,
and many parts of Yunnan are also suffering from lower rainfall,
the ministry said.
    However, sugar output forecasts remained the same despite
the weather. 
    
    Key numbers from the Chinese Agricultural Supply and Demand
Estimates (CASDE)
         2016/2   2017/2018    2018/2019   2018/2019   Percentage
          017    (estimate in  (forecast   (forecast     change
                    June)       in May)     in June)   
  Corn                                                      
 Plante  36.76      35.45        34.95       34.95         0%
   d                                                   
 acreag                                                
 e (mln                                                
 hectar                                                
  es)                                                  
 Output  219.55     215.89       209.53      209.53      0.00%
  (mln                                                 
 tonnes                                                
   )                                                   
 Import   2.46       1.50         1.50        1.50       0.00%
 s (mln                                                
 tonnes                                                
   )                                                   
 Ending  11.21      -6.42        -20.07      -20.07         
 Stocks                                                
  (mln                                                 
 tonnes                                                
   )                                                   
 Soybea                                                     
   n                                                   
 Plante   7.20       7.78         8.39        8.39       0.00%
   d                                                   
 acreag                                                
 e (mln                                                
 hectar                                                
  es)                                                  
 Output  12.94      14.55        15.27       15.37       0.65%
  (mln                                                 
 tonnes                                                
   )                                                   
 Import  93.49      95.97        95.65       95.65       0.00%
 s (mln                                                
 tonnes                                                
   )                                                   
 Ending  -1.80      -0.31        -0.50       -0.40          
 Stocks                                                
  (mln                                                 
 tonnes                                                
   )                                                   
 Cotton                                                     
 Plante   3.10       3.35         3.19        3.19       0.00%
   d                                                   
 acreag                                                
 e (mln                                                
 hectar                                                
  es)                                                  
 Output   4.82       5.89         5.55        5.55       0.00%
  (mln                                                 
 tonnes                                                
   )                                                   
 Import   1.11       1.10         1.20        1.40       16.67%
 s (mln                                                
 tonnes                                                
   )                                                   
 Ending   8.75       7.42         6.01        5.95          
 Stocks                                                
  (mln                                                 
 tonnes                                                
   )                                                   
 Sugar                                                      
 Plante   1.40       1.46         1.52        1.52       0.00%
   d                                                   
 acreag                                                
 e (mln                                                
 hectar                                                
  es)                                                  
  Cane    1.23       1.27         1.28        1.28       0.00%
  Beet    0.17       0.19         0.23        0.23       0.00%
 Output   9.29      10.31        10.68       10.68       0.00%
  (mln                                                 
 tonnes                                                
   )                                                   
  Cane    8.24       9.16         9.25        9.25       0.00%
 sugar                                                 
  Beet    1.05       1.15         1.43        1.43       0.00%
 sugar                                                 
 Import   2.29       3.20         3.20        3.20       0.00%
 s (mln                                                
 tonnes                                                
   )                                                   
 Ending  -3.44      -1.61        -1.47       -1.47          
 Stocks                                                
  (mln                                                 
 tonnes                                                
   )                                                   
 
    

 (Reporting by Dominique Patton; Editing by Joseph Radford)
  
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