China is no longer the world’s largest cotton producer and it no longer uses as much cotton as it once did. But China’s textile industry remains a major factor in the world market, according to the National Cotton Council’s Jody Campiche.
In recent years, China's mill use of cotton has dropped 17 million bales due to such factors as high internal cotton prices, falling prices for polyester and the the bump in China's economic growth of recent months.
“Back in February, China’s price was actually up closer to 90 cents per pound,” said Dr. Campiche, vice president for economic services at the NCC. "Since then, it’s dropped so China’s price is now down to 81 cents per pound. Polyester prices right are at about 46 cents per pound."
For a time, China's internal cotton price was about twice that of polyester. "Now the gap has narrowed a little bit, but it is still a pretty significant gap, and that gap is not allowing cotton mill use in China to recover (from the decline from more than 49 million to 32.5 million bales.)”
Campiche says China is lowering its cotton subsidies. In 2015, growers in Xinjiang Province in western China were receiving $1.40 a pound. Now that's been dropped to $1.32.
For more on cotton industry issues, visit www.cotton.org.