Tighter Supplies Add Uncertainty to Hopes for Recovery

For Immediate Release 

Date Posted: 1 April 2021
Executive Summary
Highlights from the April 2021 Cotton This Month include:
  • An expected increase in mill-use and continuing distribution of vaccines are offering some hope for a recovery
  • However, there are multiple warning signs that could derail the progress:
    • Vaccine deployment varies dramatically by country
    • Pent up demand for services may impact demand for goods as economies reopen
    • Tightening supplies could push prices higher
    • A continuing escalation of trade tensions between some of the world’s top producers and consumers
Tighter Supplies Add Uncertainty to Hopes for Recovery
Although several recent developments are providing hope for a post-pandemic recovery, other factors add uncertainty to those expectations. On the positive side, mill use is expected to increase by 8% in the 2020/21 season and vaccines have slowly been making their way around the globe.

However, vaccine deployment varies widely from one region to the next, with many countries having provided no vaccinations at all. In addition, consumer spending on goods has improved more than it has for services to date, so once people can return to travelling and going out for dinner or a movie, a potential shift in spending could reduce demand for durable goods.

Furthermore, while the global consumption estimate has increased from the previous month, the global production estimate has decreased, so lower stock levels could provide future support for prices, which set a season high at the end of February.

Finally, uncertainty abounds regarding the relationships between major buyers and sellers. There has been no progress made since the Phase One trade agreement between the USA and China went into effect last year with tensions also between China and Australia.
The Secretariat’s current price projection for the year-end 2020/21 average of the A Index is 78.5 cents per pound this month.
Cotton This Month is published at the beginning of the month with the Cotton Update published mid-month. The Cotton Update, which is included in the Cotton This Month subscription, is a mid-month report with updated information on supply/demand estimates and prices. The next Cotton Update will be released on 15 April 2021. The next Cotton This Month will be released on 3 May 2021.
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Please contact the author, Ms. Lihan Wei, with questions on this report.

About the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC)
Formed in 1939, the ICAC is an association of cotton producing, consuming and trading countries. It acts as a catalyst for change by helping member countries maintain a healthy world cotton economy; provides transparency to the world cotton market by serving as a clearinghouse for technical information on cotton production; and serves as a forum for discussing cotton issues of international significance. The ICAC does not have a role in setting market prices or in intervening in market mechanisms. For more information, please visit www.icac.org.