U.S. cotton exports for 2007-08 were lowered 1.2 million bales to 14.5 million bales due to a combination of lower import demand by China and Turkey and greater competition for market share from India, according to USDA’s March 11 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates. Old crop U.S. ending stocks were raised to 9.4 million bales.

Cotton production for old crop cotton was reduced for China, Brazil, and Turkey, but raised for Pakistan. World consumption was reduced 1.5 percent from last month, mainly in China, India, and Turkey, due to weaker than anticipated textile demand combined with higher cotton prices relative to polyester.

World trade was reduced more than 1 million bales due to a reduction in China’s imports. Exports were reduced for the United States, Brazil, and others, but raised for India, which has increased exportable supplies. World ending stocks are now forecast at 59.2 million bales.

December 2008 cotton futures closed higher on March 11, at 88.24 cents per pound. December 2009 futures also closed higher at 93.2 cents per pound.

USDA raised rice exports for 2007-08 by 1 million hundredweight to 112 million hundredweight. Rough and combined milled and brown rice exports (on a rough-equivalent basis) were each raised 500,000 hundredweight from a month ago.

Combined medium- and short-grain rice exports were raised 1 million hundredweight to 26 million hundredweight, while long-grain exports remained unchanged at 86 million hundredweight. Rice ending stocks are projected at 21.6 million hundredweight, 1 million hundredweight below last month, and the lowest stocks since 1974-75.

The season-average farm price is projected at $11.85 to $12.15 per hundredweight, up 55 cents per hundredweight on both ends of the range from a month ago and the highest price since 1980-81 ($12.80 per hundredweight). Tight domestic supplies, higher global prices, and a weaker dollar have contributed to the increase.

Global 2007-08 rice production and stocks were increased from last month while consumption was lowered. The increase in world production is due mostly to increases in India and the Philippines. World rice ending stocks for 2007-08 are projected at 75.2 million tons, up 3.1 million tons from last month.

Global ending stocks were raised mostly due to increases in China, India, and the Philippines. China’s ending stocks were raised based on information from the U.S. Agricultural Counselor in Beijing indicating that per capita consumption has been declining, particularly in the urban centers. China’s rice consumption for 2007-08 was lowered 2.1 million tons to 127 million tons.

e-mail: erobinson@farmpress.com