Climate Change Shrinks Global Cotton Supply to a New Low

  • By: Ahmed Khan
  • Date: August 20, 2022
  • Time to read: 2 min.

Global textiles markets face worries of a dangerous economic downturn amid the latest cotton crisis, triggered by the worsening climate in different parts of the world.

Extreme weather conditions, particularly untimely rains, droughts, and heat waves, are worrying the largest cotton suppliers of the world.

Cotton Exporters Struggle Amid Economic Headwinds

No cotton exporter is immune to the dangerous impacts of climate change these days. 

India is the largest cotton-producing country in the world, contributing significantly to maintaining the global cotton supply chain. Usually, Indian cotton exports can touch $10 billion a year, but heavy rains and pests attacks are making India a net importer of cotton 

The same is the case with China, where the first nationwide drought alert in the last 9 years is expected to significantly impact cotton yields. China is currently grappling with scorching weather conditions, and the country is sitting on the verge of drought, which makes the upcoming cotton harvest difficult.

The United States, which is usually the largest exporter of cotton, is also impacted by droughts, where the water levels in some strategically important reservoirs are dropping at an unprecedented rate. Reportedly, this water crisis in the USA will reduce US cotton production to a level not seen in at least a decade.  

With an almost 28 % decline in yield, US cotton stockpiles are expected to reach the lowest level since 2008, when the global financial crisis choked nearly every sector of the economy.

Then comes Brazil, the second-largest exporter of the commodity, which has already reduced its cotton yield by 30 % due to rising concerns of droughts.

One of the largest agricultural associations of Brazil, Abrapa, noted that 200,000 metric tons of cotton have already been destroyed due to the prevailing bad weather conditions.

Likewise, Bom Futuro group, a cotton production giant in Brazil which accounts for nearly 10 % of cotton plantation area in the country, reported 27 % less cotton yield compared to previous years.

Textile Recession on its Way

This supply-side disruption in the cotton industry has already increased the prices of the commodity by 30 %. As the crisis is only likely to worsen in the foreseeable future, the prices of everyday commodities ranging from t-shirts to trousers to papers to diapers can chronically increase.

The countries which are self-sufficient in cotton will tackle the shortage by reducing cotton exports, but nations largely dependent on imports will struggle to acquire clothing even at the compromised prices.

Most of the European countries will face this shortage going into the fourth quarter of the year, significantly impacting the new year and Christmas plans of an average consumer.

Ahmed Khan

Author - Ahmed Khan

Political Reporter - View All Articles
Ahmed is a freelance journalist covering the main political news from around the world. Muhammad joined InterSpaceReporter as a freelance journalist on Monday 8th August 2022.

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