NEW DELHI, Oct 4 (PER CENTReuters): India, the world's third largest cotton producer, is expected to nearly double its exports in the year to September 2006 because of a record crop and lower prices, traders said today.
They said the country is likely to sell more than 2 million bales of 170 kg each during the crop year compared with an estimated 1.2 million bales last year.
Traders said a big chunk of Indian cotton is expected to hit the Chinese market. "Chinese demand is growing and they are likely to buy more from India," said one New Delhi-based trader.
He said India is expected to sell close to 1 million bales of cotton to China, up from around 300,000 to 400,000 bales last year. The balance would go to traditional markets like the Middle East, Bangladesh, Japan and Hong Kong.
India is also a leading exporter of textiles like yarn, fabric and garments, mainly to the U.S. and Europe. The value of its textile sales is expected to have grown to $15 billion in the year to March 2005, from last year's $13 billion.
The country's share of the world market is seen doubling by 2010 from 4 per cent now, studies say.
India's cotton production is likely to zoom to about 25 million bales this year, from an estimated 21.5 million bales with more area under cultivation and the use of transgenic seeds.
The country's cotton crop, prone to pest attacks like bollworm, has remained largely free of pests this year because of more use of pest- resistant genetically modified cotton.
In 2002, India allowed transgenic cotton that contains a gene from Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacterium species. When infested by bollworm, it causes lethal paralysis in the digestive tract.
Traders said the area under transgenic cotton has jumped three-fold to 1.5 million hectares this year.
The price of long staple top quality cotton in India is ruling around 17,500 rupees ($397.2) a candy of 356 kg each, compared with 20,000 rupees quoted in the international market for a similar variety.