World Cotton Market

World production

  • More than 100 countries in the world grow cotton (source: ICAC 2012)
  • Cotton accounts for about 31% of worldwide fibre production (source: Australian Grown Cotton Sustainability Report, 2014)
  • The global 20 year average (1993/94 to 2013/14) annual planted area is 33 million hectares of cotton (source: Bremen Cotton Exchange, 2014) producing about 26 million tonnes of lint each year
  • Average world cotton yields reached 780 kilograms of lint per hectare in 2013/14, up markedly from 230 kilograms of lint per hectare in the 1950s (source: Bremen Cotton Exchange 2014)

Major cotton producing countries in 2014/15

  • China: 33.0 million bales
  • India: 27.0 million bales
  • United States: 18.0 million bales
  • Pakistan: 10.3 million bales
  • Brazil: 9.3 million bales
  • Uzbekistan: 4.6 million bales
  • Australia: 1.9 million bales
  • Turkey: 2.8 million bales
  • Turkmenistan: 1.6 million bales
  • Greece: 1.4 million bales

(source: Bremen Cotton Exchange, 2014)

Supply and distribution

(source: Bremen Cotton Exchange 2014 - unless otherwise stated)

  2012/13 (estimated) 2013/14 (projected) 2014/15 (projected)
(million tonnes)
26.8 25.7 25.4
(million tonnes)
23.3 23.6 24.5
  • World consumption of textile fibres is mainly determined by population, consumer spending, which in turn depends on world economic growth, and prices (source: ICAC 2007)
  • China is the world’s largest cotton producer AND the world’s largest consumer of cotton fibre, with a share of around 25% of global cotton production in 2013/14
  • India accounted for approximately 24% of global cotton production in 2013/14
  • In the last decade, Asia has become the number one destination for cotton imports
  • The major importers of cotton in 2013/14 were China, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Turkey
  • About 30% of the world's consumption of cotton fibre crosses international borders before processing, a larger share than for wheat, corn, soybeans, or rice. Through trade in yarn, fabric, and clothing, much of the world's cotton again crosses international borders at least once more before reaching the final consumer (source: USDA 2012)

Global value of cotton

  • Cotton production and processing play an economic important in many cotton growing countries, including developing countries. Production of cotton and the subsequent exportation of lint and cotton products provide a source of export income
  • In some countries that produce no cotton, the importation and processing of lint for domestic consumption or re-exportation as manufactured goods plays a vital economic role
  • The projected price for 2014/15 is 159 US cents/kg. The world cotton market is estimated at USD $77 billion for 2014/15 (or $96 billion AUD as at January 2015) (source: ICAC 2015)


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