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Xinjiang Cotton Yields Prove Disappointing

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For the first time in several years, the Xinjiang cotton crop will not exceed expectations; and in the northern cotton belt of the province, cotton yields appear to be very disappointing. A National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) research team traveled through the northern cotton belt that extends from Yining in the West to Hami in the East and found that growers in this area have experienced higher inputs this season, which has impacted grower profits. One big problem for the region has been the very slow progress of cotton harvest, with a shortage of cotton pickers being one of the main reasons. This situation has left the cotton crop exposed to weather elements for a longer period of time. Only a third of the crop was picked in Hami when the first frost arrived.

In the Changdi region just north of Urumqi, seed cotton yields have averaged near 3,750 kilograms per hectare, a decline of 17 percent from year-ago levels. The quality of the crop has also been reduced, with T328 the dominate grade instead of the normal T229. It is by no means clear yet just how much Xinjiang cotton output has been adversely affected. If the behavior of local seed cotton prices is a good indicator, the impact may be rather significant. Seed cotton prices paid last week at the Production and Construction Corps (PCC) farms increased considerably, with T229 prices up 11 percent. Local inland prices are very firm, with T328 prices now averaging 13,560 yuan per ton at the warehouse, which is almost identical to the average T328 landed-Eastern-mill price. Normally, T328 at the Xinjiang warehouse is at a 400 to 500-yuan per ton discount due to freight costs.

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