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U.S. Cotton-Crop Estimate Trimmed as Texas Farmers Abandon Crop

The cotton crop in the U.S., the world’s biggest exporter, will be 1.4 percent smaller than estimated a month ago as more farmers in Texas left fields unharvested, the government said. Analysts expected production to be little changed.

The crop, which was mostly harvested in 2012, totaled 17.01 million bales, down from the December estimate of 17.26 million, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report. Nine analysts in a Bloomberg News survey estimated output at 17.24 million bales, on average. The previous crop was 15.57 million bales, each weighing 480 pounds, or 218 kilograms.

Estimated production in Texas, the top growing state, “is too high and final production will be at or near the low end” of what merchants are expecting, or about 5 million bales, Sharon Johnson, a market specialist for Knight Futures in Atlanta, said in a report before the figures were released. Last month, the USDA estimated the Texas crop at 5.515 million bales.

Cotton has plunged 66 percent from a record $2.197 a pound in March 2011 as demand slumped and global production increased. The March contract rose 0.8 percent to 75.8 cents on ICE Futures U.S. in New York at 9:51 a.m.

Yields in the U.S. averaged 866 pounds per acre, the USDA said, up from 793 pounds estimated last month. The figure was 790 pounds in the previous year.

Export Forecast

U.S. growers will export 12.2 million bales in the marketing year that began Aug. 1, up from 11.71 million in the previous 12 months, the USDA said. Unsold supplies at the end of the year will total 4.8 million bales, up percent from 3.35 million a year earlier, according to the report. Last month, the surplus was projected at 5.4 million bales.

World output will reach 118.83 million bales, down from 124.13 million in the previous year, the USDA said. Last month’s estimate was 116.9 million bales.

Global consumption will total 106.06 million bales, up 2.9 percent from 103.09 million in the previous year, the department said. Stockpiles on July 31 will reach 81.72 million bales, up 2.6 percent from 79.64 million forecast in December, the USDA said.

Estimated inventories in China, the biggest user of the fiber, will be 40.61 million bales at the end of the marketing year, up 8 percent from the December estimate of 37.61 million, according to the report.

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