“Chinese mills will use 7.9 percent more cotton, with the aid of increased imports, primarily from the U.S., according to a report by the U.S. embassy staff in Beijing. Farmers are expected to boost plantings 6 percent to 5.364 million hectares (13.25 million acres), raising output 6.1 percent to 6.05 million tons, today’s report said . “The high imports are driven by both increased exports of, and domestic demand for, textile and apparel products,” Jim Butterworth and Wu Xinping, U.S. Department of Agriculture analysts in Beijing, said in the report. “Better profits received by cotton farmers attributed to the area expansion” forecast in the marketing year than begins Aug. 1, they said . “Chinese cotton imports the first two months of this year more than tripled to 622,652 metric tons from 183,675 tons during the same period a year earlier, the report said . “Planned investment rose 39 percent to $46 billion in 2005 compared with a year earlier, as 6,738 textile projects were under construction in China last year compared with 5,302 in 2004, the report said. The value of textile output rose 26 percent last year and profits rose 36 percent compared with a year earlier, the report said . “China’s reserve inventories at the end of July 2005 were estimated at 1.26 million tons, down 56 percent from an earlier estimate. That will reduce projected inventories at the end of July this year to 1.51 million tons from 2.89 million forecast earlier, the analysts said. They also said it has been difficult to estimate China’s reserves since the liberalization of cotton marketing in 1999, especially in the past few years when the cotton industry expanded rapidly . “Cotton for July delivery fell 0.15 cent to 51.57 cents a pound on the New York Board of Trade. Prices are down 9.6 percent from a year ago after U.S. farmers harvested a record 23.72 million bales last year, up 2 percent from 2004. A bale of cotton weighs 480 pounds . “Source: Bloomberg.com .