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U.S. Cotton-Crop Estimate Reduced 3.1% as Dry Conditions Linger

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Sept. 12 (Bloomberg) -- The cotton crop in the U.S., the world’s biggest exporter, will be 3.1 percent smaller than forecast last month, the government said.

The harvest that’s getting under way will bring in 17.11 million bales, down from 17.65 million projected in August, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report. The average estimate of nine analysts in a Bloomberg News survey was 17.46 million. The previous crop totaled 15.57 million bales, each weighing 480 pounds, or 218 kilograms.

Production may be lower “due to lingering drought in the south-central U.S.,” Gary Raines, an economist at FCStone Fibers and Textiles in Nashville, Tennessee, said in an e-mail before the figures were released.

Cotton futures have gained 11 percent since June 1 as drought reduced the U.S. crop outlook, closing yesterday at 74.93 cents a pound. Still, the fiber is down from a record of $2.197 in March 2011 as the higher prices eroded demand and boosted global output.

U.S. growers may export 11.8 million bales in the marketing year that began Aug. 1, up from 11.71 million in the previous season, the USDA said. Unsold supplies at the end of the marketing year will total 5.30 million bales, up 58 percent from 3.35 million this year, according to the report.

Projected Yields

Yields may reach 786 pounds per acre, down from 790 pounds in the previous year and up from 784 pounds last month, the USDA said.

World output will reach 114.03 million bales, down from 124.16 million the previous year, the USDA said. Last month’s estimate was for 114.11 million bales.

Consumption will be 107.55 million bales, up from 104.28 million last year, the department said.

Global stockpiles on July 31, 2013, may total 76.52 million bales, 2.5 percent more than the 74.67 million forecast in August, the USDA said.

Estimated inventories in China, the biggest user of the fiber, at the end of this marketing year were raised 3.9 percent to 35.51 million bales from 34.18 million forecast in August. China will import 12 million bales in the next season, down 51 percent from 24.53 million last year, the USDA said.

Output in India, the world’s second-largest exporter, may reach 24.5 million bales, down 11 percent from 27.5 million last year, according to the report. Ending stockpiles at the end of the year are forecast at 8.17 million bales, up 12 percent from a month earlier.

To contact the reporter on this story: Marvin G. Perez in New York at mperez71@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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