The U.S. cotton demand projection for 2018/19 was reduced 500,000 bales in July to 18.4 million bales. U.S. exports accounted for the decrease, resulting from reduced available supplies—a lower U.S. crop forecast and lower beginning stocks—coupled with expectations of increased foreign competition.
U.S. cotton exports are forecast at 15.0 million bales for 2018/19, 1.2 million bales below the 2017/18 estimate that was increased 200,000 bales in July based on late-season strength in shipments. With world cotton trade slightly higher in 2018/19, the U.S. share of global trade is forecast to decline from the 40 percent achieved during each of the past two seasons to 36 percent in 2018/19.
U.S. cotton mill use accounts for the additional 3.4 million bales of demand in 2018/19. Meanwhile, total U.S. cotton demand for 2017/18 was increased to 19.55 million bales 16.2 million bales of exports and 3.35 million bales of mill use—the highest since a record 23.5 million bales of cotton demand were achieved in 2005/06.
Based on the latest supply and demand estimates, 2018/19 ending stocks are forecast at 4.0 million bales, equal to 2017/18 and the highest since 2008/09’s 6.3 million bales; in addition, the 2018/19 stocks-to-use ratio (22 percent) is expected to rise for the second consecutive season to its highest level since 2015/16.
Meanwhile, the strength of global cotton demand is helping support higher upland cotton farm prices in 2018/19; the farm price is forecast to range between 68 cents and 82 cents per pound in 2018/19, with the 75-cent midpoint 7 cents above the average of the previous two seasons.