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Cotton - Statistics & Facts

Cotton is the most often used natural fiber worldwide, and thus an important component of the textile industry. In 2017, the total global production of cotton amounted to some 120.86 million bales. India, China, and the United States were the largest producers, responsible for more than the half of the world’s total production volume. The total global supply of cotton, stocks included, stood at approximately 248.63 million bales in 2017.

The top exporter of cotton was the United States, with some 15.5 million bales of cotton exported around the world in 2017. Thus, the U.S. exported the majority of its harvests for processing abroad. Other leading exporters were India, Brazil, and Australia. Among the leading importers were Bangladesh, Vietnam, and China – all of which are well-known for their production of large quantities of cotton clothing.

In the U.S., nearly 12.06 million acres of land planted with cotton was harvested in 2017. The production value of the cotton grown in this area stood at around 7.23 billion U.S. dollars in 2017. Traditionally, the Southern states generate the largest amounts of cotton. With some 8.83 million bales, Texas was by far the leading cotton producing U.S. state in 2017. Georgia, Mississippi, and Arkansas followed.

Prices for cotton remained very stable between 2003 and 2009, roughly ranging between 60 and 70 U.S. cents per pound on the global market. Record highs were reached in 2011, when the global average price climbed to almost 156 cents per pound. 2012 was marked by a heavy price decline. For example, the average U.S. upland spot cotton price decreased from 133 to 74 U.S. cents within a year.

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