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Cotton Harvest in Pakistan May Exceed Forecast on Higher Yields

Dec. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Cotton production in Pakistan, the fourth-largest grower, may be more than previously forecast this year as rising yields compensate for crop losses from floods, according to a ginners’ group.

Output may reach 12.7 million bales of 170 kilograms (375 pounds) each in the season that started July 1, compared with 12.2 million bales estimated by the government in October, Kishin Chand, vice chairman of Pakistan Cotton Ginners’ Association, said in an interview in Karachi yesterday.

A bigger crop may help Pakistan boost exports and widen the 40 percent losses in futures in New York this year. Cotton has tumbled since reaching a record $2.197 per pound on March 7 as demand waned in China, the biggest consumer, and global production rose.

Use of “Bt cotton has yielded us amazing results,” Chand said referring to genetically modified strain that produces toxins lethal to bollworms, which are among the most serious threats to the crop. Farmers in Punjab and Sindh provinces, the biggest growers, doubled the use of BT cotton seeds this year, he said.

Pakistan lowered its production estimate on Oct. 27 after monthlong rains from August damaged 3 million bales of cotton in Sindh, the country’s second-biggest producer.

Arrivals climbed 16 percent to 9.1 million bales since harvesting began in July, Chand said. Harvests in Punjab province jumped 43 percent to 7.1 million bales from a year earlier, he said.

Exports may reach 1 million bales this crop year, more than the 500,000 bales estimated by the country’s textile mills association, as the fiber from Pakistan is “the cheapest in the world right now,” Chand said.

Cotton for March delivery gained as much as 0.3 percent to 87.45 cents a pound today on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. The commodity is set for the first annual decline in three years.

Imports may total 500,000 bales as textile mills need long-staple cotton to meet export orders, Chand said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Khurrum Anis in Karachi at kkhan14@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Poole at jpoole4@bloomberg.net

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