NEW DELHI: India’s cotton imports have touched an all-time high of 30 lakh bales this season. The last time cotton imports touched a record high was in 2001-02 when they were 25 lakh bales.
In the 2015-16 season, India had imported 20 lakh bales of cotton. Buoyed by the good prices this season, farmers are expected to plant 20% more cotton in the 2017-18 season.
The market and international rates of cotton have almost been on par and most cotton mills, especially in South India, have found it feasible to import, MM Chokalingam, Chairman and MD in charge, Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) said. Cotton exports which were brisk at the start of the season touching 30 lakh bales, has become subdued with international rates coming on par with India, he added. Usually, there is a difference of 7 cents between domestic and international rates but with rates on par, the realisations from international cotton are higher, Chokalingam points out.
According to Chokalingam, since January this year, imports have been more lucrative for cotton millers as the trash content in Australian and African cotton is barely 1% as compared to 3 % in Indian cotton because of which the realisations are higher.
Moreover, international purchasing became more lucrative because of the strength of the Indian rupee as compared to the American dollar, he said.
Imports from African Countries work out cheaper for mills in South India, as opposed to purchases from traders in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra at a premium, and the added transportation cost.