TH3033 - MY2012/13 cotton imports will likely increase to 1.5 million bales as Thailand’s textile and garment industry gradually recovers from economic challenges and natural disasters.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
Required Report - public distribution
GAIN Report Number: TH3033
Cotton and Products Annual
Rey Santella, Agricultural Attaché
Ponnarong Prasertsri, Agricultural Specialist
TH3033 - MY2012/13 cotton imports will likely increase to 1.5 million bales as Thailand’s textile and
garment industry gradually recovers from economic challenges and natural disasters. However,
Thailand’s total spinning capacity will likely be below normal levels due to the continued global
economic slowdown and an increase in the Thai national minimum wage. In MY2013/14, cotton
imports are likely to increase to 1.6 million bales in anticipation of a full textile industry recovery driven
by strong domestic and global economic growth.
Marketing Year (MY) 2011/12 cotton imports declined significantly to 1.3 million bales as spinning
mills were adversely affected by widespread flooding during the previous year. In addition, Thailand’s
textile and garment industry contended with a slowing domestic and global economy, which resulted in
a 28 percent contraction in textile and garment production. Sources indicate that spinning mills have
gradually recovered in the first half of MY2012/13, but capacity utilization is still 10 to 20 percent
below normal levels due to the continued global economic slowdown and an increase in the Thai
national minimum wage. Although MY2012/13 cotton imports are likely to increase to 1.5 million
bales, they are still well below normal import levels that averaged 1.8 million bales over the past ten
years. Spinners still hold large inventories of high-cost cotton yarn, thus, they will likely continue to
limit their purchases to cheaper cotton due to liquidity problems. In MY2013/14, cotton imports will
likely increase to 1.6 million bales in anticipation of a full textile industry recovery driven by strong
domestic and global economic growth.
Section 1: Situation and Outlook for Upland and Value-Added Cotton
Cotton production in Thailand is marginal, providing less than one percent of total demand. In
MY2013/14, cotton production is forecast to continue its downward trend in anticipation of a further
reduction in planting acreage. Cotton acreage is expected to decline to approximately 7,700 rai (1,232
hectares), down 4 percent from the previous year with an estimated seed cotton production of around
1,600 metric tons (2,500 bales). Farmers are likely to shift to corn cultivation since it generates a higher
rate of return. The government still bans the use of transgenic plants, which is an alternative that could
increase returns. There is no domestic support program for cotton farmers.
2. Consumption and Marketing
MY2011/12 cotton consumption declined to approximately 1.3 million bales, down 20 to 25 percent
from the previous year. The Thai economy was adversely affected by widespread flooding in the last
quarter of 2011, resulting in a lower GDP in 2011 (Figure 4). Approximately, 20 percent of Thailand’s
spinning mills had to shut their operations due to the flooding. Consequently, total spinning capacity
dropped to 53 percent in MY2011/12, 23 percent below the previous year’s levels. In addition, cotton
yarn production declined 23 percent from the previous year as weavers also cut their capacity
utilization. Furthermore, due to the global economic slowdown, textile and garment exports declined 11
percent from the previous year, particularly to the United States and the European Union, which account
for around 30 percent of Thailand’s total textile and garment exports.
MY2012/13 cotton consumption is likely increase to 1.5 million bales, up 13 percent from the previous
year as spinning mills gradually recover from the economic downturn. In the first half of MY2012/13,
cotton yarn production increased approximately 24 percent from the same period last year as cotton-
fiber spinning mills increased their capacity utilization to 62 percent. The higher utilization, however, is
still well below the normal 70 to 80 percent capacity utilization rate as spinners continue to hold large
carry-over stocks, particularly high-cost cotton yarn. Thailand’s export-oriented textile and garment
production declined around 10 percent from the same period last year as exports dropped around 4
percent due to the global economic slowdown.
Thai textile manufacturers’ competitiveness, particularly labor-intensive garment operations, has been
hit hard by higher production costs caused by new minimum wage laws that increased wages to 300
baht per day ($10/day) from 150-250 baht/day ($5-8/day). The new policy first went into effect in April
2011 in larger cities and then expanded nationwide in January 2013. According to a study conducted by
the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI), the new minimum wage policy will result in a 2
to 3 percent contraction in garment exports. Furthermore, a nationwide industrial survey of the
Federation of Thai Industries indicated that the new policy has increased production costs for most
garment manufacturers by 10 to 12 percent, particularly for small and medium-size garment
manufacturers located in the northern and northeastern region parts of the country. The survey results
also revealed that large textile manufacturers may have to relocate their facilities to neighboring
countries like Laos, Cambodia, and Burma where labor costs are 4 to 5 times lower than in Thailand.
MY2013/14 cotton consumption is forecast to increase to approximately 1.6 million bales, up 7 percent
from the previous year in anticipation of a full recovery of the spinning mills. In 2013, spinners will
likely increase their capacity utilization rate to an average of 70 to 80 percent, driven by strong domestic
and global economic growth.
MY2011/12 cotton imports declined to 1.3 million bales, down 27.5 percent from the previous year due
to the slowdown in the domestic and global economies. Some spinners were adversely affected by the
flooding and continue to hold large inventories of raw cotton that were purchased at record high prices.
These spinners continue to limit their cotton purchases to cheap cotton, particularly from Brazil, for
immediate use and blending with high-priced carryover cotton stocks. Brazilian cotton imports
increased around 90 percent from the previous year whereas imports of U.S. cotton declined to 0.3
million bales, down 62 percent.
MY2012/13 cotton imports will likely increase to 1.5 million bales, up 15 percent from the previous
year due to a gradual recovery of the spinning mills. In the first half of MY2012/13, cotton imports
increased 28 percent from the same period last year (Table 2). The increase is driven by the return of
world cotton prices to normal levels ranging from $0.70 to $0.80/lb. These prices have enabled spinners
to blend new imports with the high priced carry-over stocks (Figure 5). Overall, U.S. cotton imports are
likely increase to 350,000 bales, up approximately 24 percent from the previous year as some U.S.
shippers are reportedly showing more financial flexibility with Thai spinners.
MY2013/14 cotton imports are forecast to increase to 1.6 million bales in anticipation of a full recovery
of the textile industry driven by strong domestic and global economic growth. The stronger economy is
expected to help cotton spinners reduce their high-priced inventories and increase U.S. cotton imports to
370,000 bales in MY 2013/14.
In parallel with cotton imports, Thailand’s exports of comber waste cotton in MY 2012/13 will likely be
insignificant at approximately 1,000 bales. MY 2013/14 comber waste exports are expected to increase
to around 2,000 bales in anticipation of an increase in cotton yarn production.
MY2011/12 cotton stocks declined to 250,000 bales, down 23 percent from the previous year. Cotton
spinners gradually decreased their inventories and limited their purchases to a need-only basis due to
liquidity problems caused by high cotton prices the year before. Despite decreased purchases and
attempts to delay their forward buying contracts, spinners continue to hold large inventories of high-
priced cotton yarn, which are approximately 40 to 50 percent higher than current yarn prices.
Cotton stocks are expected to continue declining in MY2012/13 and MY2013/14 as spinners try to
reduce their carry-over inventories of high-priced cotton yarn. In the first half of MY2012/13,
inventories of cotton yarn declined approximately 13 percent from the same period last year.
Section 2: Statistic Tables
Table 1: Thailand's Cotton Production, Supply and Demand
T 2011/2012 2012/2013 2013/2014
Market Year Begin: Market Year Begin: Market Year Begin:
Aug 2011 Aug 2012 Aug 2013
USDA New USDA New USDA New
O fficial Post Official Post Official Post
Area Planted 0 1 0 1 1 (1000 HA)
Area Harvested 2 1 2 1 1 (1000 HA)
Beginning Stocks 322 322 263 250 226 1000 480 lb.
Production 4 2 3 2 2 1000 480 lb.
Imports 1,263 1,272 1,650 1,500 1,600 1000 480 lb.
MY Imports from U.S. 0 282 0 350 370 1000 480 lb.
Total Supply 1,589 1,596 1,916 1,752 1,828 1000 480 lb.
Exports 1 1 3 1 2 1000 480 lb.
Use 1,300 1,320 1,600 1,500 1,600 1000 480 lb.
Loss 25 25 25 25 25 1000 480 lb.
Total Dom. Cons. 1,325 1,345 1,625 1,525 1,625 1000 480 lb.
Ending Stocks 263 250 288 226 201 1000 480 lb.
Total Distribution 1,589 1,596 1,916 1,752 1,828 1000 480 lb.
Stock to Use % 20 19 18 15 13 (PERCENT)
Yield 435. 435. 327. 435. 435. (KG/HA)
End of report