India is likely to export 7 million bales of cotton in 2018/19, down 30% from an earlier estimate, as scanty rainfall and an attack of pink bollworms are likely to squeeze crop yields, trade body Cotton Association of India (CAI) said.
Lower shipments from the world’s biggest producer of the fiber amid rising demand from top consumer China could support global prices, which on Monday were trading near their lowest level in over four months.
India has so far contracted to export around 600,000 bales to neighboring China, which has imposed sanctions on shipments from top exporter the United States.
In Gujarat and Maharashtra, rainfall was lower than normal. In some pockets, pink bollworm attacks have also been reported, industry sources said.
Some regions of these two states received as much as 22 percent less rainfall than normal, according to data compiled by India Meteorological Department.
Indian farmers have adopted genetically-modified seeds known as Bt cotton that are resistant to bollworms, but it hasn’t stopped the infestations.
Pink bollworms consume the fiber and seeds inside a cotton plant’s boll, or fruit, and yields fall.