China, the world's largest cotton consumer, reduced imports by 30 percent in October from a year earlier as demand for clothing and textiles slowed, according to China Cotton Association estimates.
It imported 96,200 metric tons, down 30 percent from October 2007, the Beijing-based group said. Imports since the start of the marketing year on September 1 totaled 225,200 tons, down 39 percent from a year earlier, Bloomberg News said.
Textile mills made purchases in a "hand-to-mouth fashion" as exports of textiles and apparel slowed for a third straight month and domestic demand remained weak, said the association, which is made up of farmers, ginners, mills and industry researchers.
Sales of raw cotton were "almost stagnant" in October, as farmers were dissatisfied with prices and ginners were careful with purchases, the association said.
By October 30, farmers sold only 33 percent of the fiber collected since September 1, the start of the harvest season, compared with 57 percent sold a year earlier.
Almost 40 percent of the ginners hadn't started to purchase cotton by the end of last month, and among those who did, about 10 percent shut down as purchasing costs became higher than the price of processed cotton, the association said.
China's cotton crop may total 7.8 million tons this year, the association estimated. It produced 7.62 million tons last year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
(Shanghai Daily November 24, 2008)