After a lull for almost three months, Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) is reporting good sales, as traders have actively started taking part in auctions. The corporation was recording sales of around 7 lakh bales (one bale has 170 kg ginned cotton) per day, said P K Agarwal, chair-cum-managing director of CCI.
The lockdown and economic slowdown put a stop to cotton sales, which left CCI with an unsold stock of 113 lakh bales. For the cotton (September to October) season 2019-20, the government body had procured a record stock of 104 lakh bales. Coupled with nine lakh bales of the 2018-19 season, CCI was left with an unsold stock of 113 lakh bales.
Agarwal said since the process of unlocking had begun, the corporation was getting a good response to the auctions. “To date, we have sold nine lakh bales and, thus, are left with 104 lakh bales in stock,” he said.
The corporation has two minor export consignments with Agarwal talking about the possibility of a bigger consignment in future. “Ministerial level talks are on and we are hopeful of exporting around 15 to 20 lakh bales soon,” he said. A majority of the business is captured by big traders and spinning mill operators.
Many in the sector feel that the trade at present was driven by stockists taking advantage of bulk discounts offered to corner the best cotton available in the market. Smaller players have to buy from them to run their operations.
Traders and ginners said they had noticed traction in the trade since the process of unlocking started. Pradeep Jain, president, Khandesh Gin/Press Owners and Traders Development Association, said most spinning mills were now functioning between 50 to 60 per cent capacity.
“Of course, the lockdown in centres like Kolhapur and Bhiwandi has affected operations, but things are looking up,” he said.
Traders said export of cotton bales had also started, with countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia, Turkey, and Vietnam bagging most of the orders. Trade sources said to date, around 35 lakh bales had been exported with 15 lakh more expected to be shipped out before the beginning of the new season in October.
As against 120 lakh hectares of sowing, cotton acreage in India is around 113 lakh hectares to date. Trade sources said this season, the country would see close to the same production as last year if agro-climatic conditions and pest attacks were minimal.
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