A worker picks cotton on a farm during a harvest in Pilibanga, Rajasthan. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

India Cotton Output Seen at Three-Year Peak on Higher Crop Area

(Bloomberg) -- Cotton output in India, the world’s biggest grower, may increase to a three-year high as a rise in the crop area this year offsets damages caused by pests in some key states.

Production will probably climb to 37.7 million bales of 170 kilograms (375 pounds) each in 2017-18 from 34.5 million bales a year earlier, after the crop area climbed from a seven-year low, said Textile Commissioner Kavita Gupta, who heads the state-run Cotton Advisory Board. That would mean the biggest crop since 2014-15 when the harvest was 38.6 million bales, figures from the board show.

A bigger Indian crop and low domestic prices will likely boost exports from the South Asian country amid higher demand from Pakistan, Gupta said in Mumbai on Tuesday. Shipments to Pakistan are seen rising to 1.8 million bales in 2017-18 from 790,000 bales a year earlier, she said.

There have been some cases of pest attacks in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, Gupta said. Maharashtra has been the worst affected, with pink bollworms in some areas seen reducing output by about 15 percent, she said.

Total cotton exports from India may advance 16 percent to 6.7 million bales in 2017-18 from a year earlier, while imports will probably drop 45 percent to 1.7 million bales, Gupta said.

The area under cotton this year climbed to 12.2 million hectares (30.2 million acres), a three-year high, from 10.85 million hectares, she said.

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

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