Indian traders have ruled out chances of any immediate cotton exports to Pakistan saying that cotton from Brazil and African countries has already reached the western neighbour.
Against its domestic need of 1.5 crore bales each of 170 kg ginned combed cotton, Pakistan normally produces 50 lakh bales every year. A major importer of Indian cotton before the start of the border skirmishes, Pakisan has stopped all imports for the last two years. The ceasefire declared earlier this month reignited hopes of normal trade ties being resumed.
Given the severe shortage of cotton bales facing the country, industry sources had discussed the possibility of India exporting at least 10-12 lakh bales to Pakistan. However, chances now appear slim given the stiff opposition to Indian imports by a section of Pakistani spinners.
A Parbhani-based cotton trader told The Indian Express that the demand for cheaper imports had come mostly from Pakistani weavers. Traditionally, Pakistan relies on US, Brazil, Uzbekistan and other countries to meet its import needs. But imports from such countries are both time consuming and costlier. India, they had argued, would be a cheaper option. “But a section of traders in Pakistan had imported from Brazil and some African countries, which they are now holding on to. Indian imports will result in a price crash, which they want to avoid,” the trader said. Also, farmers in Pakistan will be harvesting a new crop after June and imports might affect prices later. “In case that crop is affected, Indian traders can look to export cotton later in the year,” the trader said.
By the end of January, India had exported 29 lakh bales of cotton. Prices of kapas (raw unginned cotton) have been bullish in the wholesale markets, which has seen the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) withdrawing from the market.