May 7, 2019 / 2:01 PM / in a month

India's cotton imports could surge to record high as output plunges-trade body

FILE PHOTO: A worker fills a vacuum pipe with cotton to clean it at a cotton processing unit in Kadi town in the western state of Gujarat, India, February 9, 2015. REUTERS/Amit Dave/File Photo

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India’s 2018/19 cotton imports are likely to double from a year ago to a record 3.1 million bales as the drop in production to the lowest level in nine years forces textile manufactures to ramp up overseas purchases, a senior industry official said.

Higher imports by the world’s biggest cotton producer could support global prices which are trading near their lowest in two months.

The drop in Indian supplies could help rivals such as the United States, Brazil and Australia increase cargoes to key Asian buyers such as China, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

“The cotton crop estimate for the season is reduced by 600,000 bales to 31.5 million bales,” said Atul Ganatra, president of the Cotton Association of India (CAI).

The country’s exports in the year could drop to 4.7 million bales, down 33.3 percent from a year ago, he said.

Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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