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Cotton yield hits record high in 2007
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China's cotton yield was estimated at more than 7 million tons last year, a record high. Its growth was 4.5 percent higher than the 2006 level of 6.7 million tons, Ministry of Agriculture sources said on Thursday.

The sources estimated that land sown to cotton totaled 5.53 million hectares nationwide last year, a marginal increase of 1.72 percent on 2006.

Last year, the central government earmarked 500 million yuan (68.5 million U.S. dollars) in subsidies for purchase of improved seeds to support cotton growing. The incentive helped improve cotton production and quality, the sources said.

In the domestic market, cotton peaked at 14,438 yuan/ton and bottomed at 12,922 yuan/ton, an average of 13,424 yuan/ton in 2007, down 2.6 percent from the previous year.

In a related development, the International Cotton Advisory Committee said owing largely to slower global economic growth, world cotton consumption would tend to ebb in the 2007-2008 period.

It estimated world cotton production at 26.02 million tons, down 2.7 percent, and consumption at 27.38 million tons worldwide, up 2.98 percent. The consumption growth was lower than the rate for each of the previous three years. The gap between supply and demand was estimated at 1.36 million tons.

According to the committee, world cotton price peaked at 69.68 U.S. cents/pound and bottomed at 55.6 cents/pound, averaging 63.28 cents/pound for last year, up 10.2 percent on the previous year.

(Xinhua News Agency January 10, 2008)

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