The current level of international prices implies a sharp increase in world cotton production next season. World cotton area is forecast to expand 7% to reach about 35 million hectares in 2004/05, the highest since 1995/96. .
Assuming a return to recent average yields, production in China (Mainland) is expected to rebound to a record of 6.3 million tons, up 1.4 million tons (29%). Production in the rest of the world is forecast up 4%, to 15.9 million tons, the highest since 2001/02. World production is expected to reach a record of 22.2 million tons in 2004/05, up 2 million tons, or 10%. Weather will again be critical in 2004. .
Cotton consumption in China (Mainland) is projected up 5%, or 350,000 tons, to reach 7.1 million tons in 2004/05, outpacing anticipated domestic production by 800,000 tons. As China (Mainland) will need to replenish stocks, imports are expected to be 1.2 million tons in 2004/05, down 300,000 tons from the record projected for this season. Mill use outside China (Mainland) is expected to decline by some 200,000 tons to 14.1 million tons, a 9-year low.