Pak cot­ton im­ports to touch near record-high lev­els

Pakistan Observer - - ECONOMY WATCH -

KARACHI—Cot­ton im­ports by Pak­istan are ex­pected to re­main near record-high lev­els in the year to July 2017, as er­ratic weather forces farm­ers in the world’s fourth-big­gest pro­ducer to trim area un­der the crop, in­dus­try of­fi­cials said. A sup­ply crunch in Pak­istan, at a time when back-to-back droughts have taken a toll on out­put at top pro­ducer In­dia, could boost global cot­ton prices from their cur­rent near 11-month highs. The two coun­tries have al­ready taken turns this year to buy from each other to fill short­ages at home.

“Cot­ton area in Pak­istan is down around 15 per cent. De­spite the gov­ern­ment and in­dus­try’s ef­forts, farm­ers in top-pro­duc­ing Pun­jab have re­duced area,” said Saleem Saleh, act­ing sec­re­tary gen­eral of All Pak­istan Tex­tile Mills As­so­ci­a­tion (Aptma). Un­pre­dictable weather, such as floods late last year as well as poor rain­fall in re­cent months, and the re­sul­tant un­cer­tainty about yields is putting many farm­ers off cot­ton, stymieing Pak­istan’s ef­forts to boost lo­cal out­put. “Farm­ers are find­ing other crops prof­itable,” said Shahzad Ali Khan, chair­man of Pak­istan Cot­ton Gin­ner’s As­so­ci­a­tion. The coun­try’s cot­ton out­put fell by a third to 9.7 mil­lion bales in 2015/16, forc­ing it to im­port a record 4m bales in the year, up from 1.2m a year ago, ac­cord­ing to Aptma. Pak­istan an­nu­ally con­sumes around 15m.—Reuters

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