KARACHI: Pakistan has finalised import contracts of 500,000 cotton bales to reduce gap in demand and supply with prices in the domestic market seen increasing, traders said on Saturday.
During the outgoing week, Pakistan remained the top importer with 24,000 bales, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Cotton prices increased in Brazil, Central Asia and India, it said in a weekly report.
During the outgoing week, prices of cotton remained at Rs13,250 to Rs13,350 per maund in Sindh. Seed-cotton was available at Rs5,800 to Rs6,000 per 40-kg in the province. Cotton fetched Rs13,500 to Rs13,800 per maund in the Punjab where seed-cotton was available at Rs6,000 to Rs6,700 per 40-kg, which is a record price during these days. Cotton price in Balochistan remained at Rs13,350 to Rs13,400 per maund.
Karachi Cotton Association’s spot rate committee increased by spot rate by Rs200 to Rs13,100 per maund.
Karachi Cotton Brokers Association Chairman Naseem Usman told The News that prices in the international market were going up during the outgoing week. Fluctuation continued in the New York Cotton Market where rates remained between 86.5 to 88 cents per pound.
Import prices are increasing due to rupee depreciation against the US dollar. Pakistan produced 5.6 million bales last year and 7 million bales were imported.
Cotton prices increased Rs200 to Rs300 per maund in the local market during the outgoing week, as spinners remained interested in buying, traders said.
Around 65 ginning factories started operations in Sindh but due to unavailability of seed-cotton, some mills had to close their operations temporarily.
Sindh’s cotton is also going to Punjab where around 15 factories have stared operations. Partial picking and arrival of seed-cotton in factories of Punjab has also started but seed-cotton price reached a record high of Rs6,700 per 40-kg. Three ginning factories have also started their functions in Balochistan.
Traders said mills are purchasing cotton in huge quantities, as monsoon rains are expected ahead. Besides, trucks are needed to carry sacrificial animals and they might increase their fares.
Growers in Sindh said cotton crop is facing water scarcity that would affect the production. They have appealed to the provincial government for supply of water while Provincial Minister Ismail Rahu also complained to the federal government regarding water shortage. They said monsoon rains may become beneficial for the cotton crop.
Prime Minister's aide Jamshed Iqbal said the government is allocating Rs1 billion for the restructuring of Pakistan Central Cotton Committee. Textile mills should also come forward for the research and development of cotton, he said.
Iqbal said the government has sanctioned Rs7 billion for the awareness and training of farmers and the government would take all necessary measures to increase cotton production in the country. There is a need of 16 million bales in the country and the government is highlighting new areas for cotton production. However, people in the sector said they are not believing any promise of the government which imposed more taxes on cotton and cottonseed.