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U.S. Cotton-Crop Estimate Reduced 1.1% by USDA on Lower Yields

The cotton crop in the U.S., the world’s largest exporter, will be 1.1 percent smaller than forecast last month because of lower yields, the government said.

Production may total 17.26 million bales, down from 17.45 million projected in November, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report. The average estimate of eight analysts in a Bloomberg News survey was 17.55 million. The previous crop totaled 15.57 million bales, each weighing 480 pounds, or 218 kilograms.

Cotton has plunged 67 percent from a record $2.197 a pound in March 2011 as higher prices eroded demand and boosted global production. The March contract closed yesterday down 0.5 percent to 73.4 cents a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York.

Yields may reach 793 pounds per acre, down from 802 projected last month. The yield was 790 pounds in the previous year, the USDA said.

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 year will total 5.4 million bales, up 61 percent from 3.35 million a year earlier, according to the report.

World output will reach 116.90 million bales, down 5.9 from 124.27 million in the previous season, the USDA said. Last month’s estimate was 116.83 million bales.

Consumption will total 106.48 million bales, up 3.2 percent from 103.21 million last year, the department said.

Global stockpiles on July 31, 2013, may total 79.64 million bales, down 0.8 percent from 80.27 million forecast in November, the USDA said.

Estimated inventories in China, the biggest user of the fiber, at the end of this marketing year will be 37.61 million bales, up 1.3 percent from the November estimate of 37.11 million, according to the report.

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