What Would a Change in Chinese Cotton Policy Mean?

For several years, cotton producers from around the globe have kept one eye on China’s massive cotton reserve program that has propped up cotton prices and simultaneously threatened to send the market into a free fall. Now some, including Joe Nicosia, executive vice president of Louis Dreyfus Commodities, say the Chinese could finally be on the verge of changing that policy – for better or for worse.

Speaking to a room full of cotton industry professionals at the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show, Nicosia said 2014/15 could be the year the Chinese government begins the process of reducing its 57 million bales of reserve cotton stocks onto the market. Drawing down those 57 million bales represents an enormous task – and that number doesn’t include the bales that are currently being stored in mills and on farms around the country. And, Nicosia says, China was still importing cotton at least through the end of March.

But there is no doubt that China is looking for a way out of its currently bloated cotton reserve policy.

“They have new leadership in China,” Nicosia said. “They realize what they’ve done has created some kind of dislocations, and they have to step forward with a new policy in 2014/15.

“So China has finally come to the table and said ‘Alright, it’s time for us to do something different.’”

The Chinese studied many of the policies previously employed by the United States to determine how they should move forward, according to Nicosia.

“They seem to have settled on some form of target price or direct subsidy program going to their growers so as to try and free up their stocks instead of having everything go into their reserve programs, which is what is currently happening,” Nicosia said.

In the past, China had supported its farmers by buying the cotton directly from them at advanced prices – often as much as $1.20 per pound, before placing that cotton into its domestic reserve. Nicosia noted that this shift in policy was not finalized, but the government was at least considering a change.

Of course, the ramifications from such a policy shift would be felt around the globe. For U.S. cotton producers, the most apparent effect from this change would be a reduction in exports to China. By lowering its premiums paid to domestic farmers, the Chinese government would open the door for Chinese mills to begin to source their cotton domestically – reducing the need for cheaper, imported cotton from America. This would have an immediate bearish impact on cotton prices in the U.S. But, Nicosia said, this is a necessary growing pain for the cotton market.

“Ultimately, this is the beginning of the process of what has to happen for us to start to work through a 100-million-bale carryover,” Nicosia said, referencing global carryover stocks in 2013/2014 – a figure for which China accounts for over half.

Silver Linings

Although a Chinese policy shift would have negative short term impacts on the U.S. cotton market, there are potential positive implications as well.

For starters, without a lofty support price, fewer Chinese growers would plant cotton in the coming year. Nicosia estimates the country’s production could drop to as low as 30.5 million bales in 2014/15. Paired with increasing Chinese consumption of 38 million bales in a year, the country could end 2014/15 with a net cotton deficit of around 7.5 million bales.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Market Analysis Stories
Market Analysis

Mother Nature Now in Charge of the Market

July 24, 2016

At this point in the crop production year, be assured that Mother Nature will still have the major say with respect to cotton prices.

Market Analysis

Watching Bulls, Bears and Fundamentals

July 11, 2016

Fundamentals rule in the long run, but technicals provide the roadmap. Just be sure to keep an eye on the bulls and bears.

Market Analysis

Cleveland: A Fun Week of Bulls, Bears and Brexit

July 5, 2016

The cotton market experienced a fun, exciting week as trading focused on strong bullish and bearish fundamentals – and little to no impact from Brexit.

Market Analysis

Shurley: Acreage Numbers Could Challenge Range-Bound Prices

July 1, 2016

In light of the June 30 USDA acres planted numbers, it would have to be considered good news if cotton’s “range bound” prices can remain at or above 64 cents.

Market Analysis

Market Fundamentals Positive, but Not Yet Bullish

June 20, 2016

July prices are still bumping into resistance. But there are enough positive fundamentals in the market to provide a bit of bullish hope.

Market Analysis

Shurley on Cotton: Thoughts Ahead of the Acreage Report

June 16, 2016

There’s usually speculation on the June USDA Acreage number and how it might compare to the March Prospective Plantings number. So far, it's all quiet.

Market Analysis

Commodity and Mill Actions Pushing Cotton Higher

June 10, 2016

It was a pretty good week for cotton, as fund money continued to flow to all commodities, and mills began to ease their price expectations higher.

Around The Gin
Product News

Enlist Technology Provides Tolerance to Three Key Herbicides

July 13, 2016

The Enlist weed control system will give growers the ability to use three modes of action postemergence in both cotton and soybeans.

Product News

Providing Upland Varieties with Acala-like Quality

July 13, 2016

PhytoGen offers growers several upland cotton varieties with Acala-like fiber quality for added premiums and higher profitability.

Product News

PhytoGen Names Winners in Best Yielder Club Sweepstakes

June 29, 2016

A North Carolina cotton grower was named grand prize winner in the 2016 PhytoGen Best Yielder Club sweepstakes.

Product News

Monsanto Donates Research Center to Local Foundation

June 27, 2016

Monsanto Company has donated its 150-acre Leland Agronomy Center to The B.F. Smith Foundation, a nonprofit organization in the Mississippi Delta.

Product News

Record Yields Set by 2015 FiberMax One Ton Club

May 4, 2016

The 127 members who qualified for the FiberMax One Ton Club pushed cotton yields and quality to higher levels in 2015.

Product News

Meister Media Worldwide Website Relaunches With New Resources

April 22, 2016

Meister Media Worldwide — publisher of Cotton Grower magazine – has relaunched its corporate website, highlighting information and services available from one of agriculture’s leading media companies.

Product News

ReinCloud Promises Remote Control

April 18, 2016

New software set to combine irrigation management and data collection – all in the palm of your hand.

Product News

Search Begins for Deltapine Class of 17

April 14, 2016

Deltapine’s NPE program is nine years old, and the search for the company’s Class of 17 cotton varieties is underway.

Latest News
Market Analysis

Mother Nature Now in Charge of the Market

July 24, 2016

At this point in the crop production year, be assured that Mother Nature will still have the major say with respect to cotton prices.

Market Analysis

Cleveland: USDA Turns the Bulls Loose

July 18, 2016

Say it again: Technicals are the leading indicator of fundamentals; they kept telling us higher prices were coming.

Market Analysis

Shurley on Cotton: It’s Christmas in July!

July 13, 2016

The calendar says July. But for cotton growers, it may as well be “Merry Christmas.”

Market Analysis

Watching Bulls, Bears and Fundamentals

July 11, 2016

Fundamentals rule in the long run, but technicals provide the roadmap. Just be sure to keep an eye on the bulls and bears.

Market Analysis

Cleveland: A Fun Week of Bulls, Bears and Brexit

July 5, 2016

The cotton market experienced a fun, exciting week as trading focused on strong bullish and bearish fundamentals – and little to no impact from Brexit.

Market Analysis

Shurley: Acreage Numbers Could Challenge Range-Bound Prices

July 1, 2016

In light of the June 30 USDA acres planted numbers, it would have to be considered good news if cotton’s “range bound” prices can remain at or above 64 cents.

Market Analysis

Market Fundamentals Positive, but Not Yet Bullish

June 20, 2016

July prices are still bumping into resistance. But there are enough positive fundamentals in the market to provide a bit of bullish hope.

Market Analysis

Shurley on Cotton: Thoughts Ahead of the Acreage Report

June 16, 2016

There’s usually speculation on the June USDA Acreage number and how it might compare to the March Prospective Plantings number. So far, it's all quiet.

Market Analysis

Commodity and Mill Actions Pushing Cotton Higher

June 10, 2016

It was a pretty good week for cotton, as fund money continued to flow to all commodities, and mills began to ease their price expectations higher.

Market Analysis

Mills, Speculators and Weather Driving Cotton Prices

June 7, 2016

Mother Nature’s recent whims are driving new money into cotton, as mills come to grips with rising prices and price fixations, which fuel buying by hedge fund long speculators.

Market Analysis

Shurley on Cotton: A Watchful Summer Lies Ahead

June 7, 2016

As planting season ends and summer approaches, the challenge for growers will be if, and when, to take price protection – and, if so, how to do it.

Market Analysis

Strange Mix of Positive Signs for the Market

May 31, 2016

Speculative funds, issues in India, U.S. plantings and strong sales have put the cotton market in a positive mood.

Market Analysis

Planting Progress, China’s Reserve Auctions Driving Market

May 23, 2016

Cotton futures had a few triple digit days this past week. Yet, thanks to a combination of influences, the bulls carried the week – if only slightly.

Market Analysis

Shurley on Cotton: Prices Get a Much Needed Bounce

May 19, 2016

April was a good month for cotton prices. So far, May hasn’t been, but prices seem to be attempting a slight recovery.

Market Analysis

USDA Report Shifts Numbers, Pressures Prices

May 16, 2016

USDA’s May supply demand report brought pressure to the cotton market and moved prices slightly lower to the critical 60-61 cent support level.