Exceptional sandstorms in the Sudan, coupled with under-pricing by the Sudanese Cotton Marketing Authority, have caused a major upset on the world cotton market.
Exceptional sandstorms in the Sudan, coupled with under-pricing by the Sudanese Cotton Marketing Authority, have caused a major upset on the world cotton market. The storms have cut estimates of this year's Sudanese cotton crop -- usually about 1,000,000 bales -- to around 850,000 bales.
The world market is suffering a cotton shortage, and when the Sudanese marketing authority set a low price for this year's crop in March, it was swamped with orders for nearly 2,000,000 bales. Faced with this situation, the authority halted bidding and, a few days later, announced allocations of 260,000 bales to its customers.
This has resulted in bitter disappointment among international cotton buyers attracted by the low price. Sudan is committed to delivering 300,000 bales to India under a trade agreement. The People's Republic of China is expected to receive 200,000 bales and Japan, perhaps 40,000 bales, so there will not be much of the cheaply-priced cotton available to other buyers.
Another major cotton supplier -- Egypt -- has subsequently raised its official dollar selling basis by about 0.64 per cent.
About 75 per cent of the Sudan's corp of extra-long staple cotton is grown on the Gezira agricultural scheme land at Barakat, 120 miles (190 kilometres) south of Khartoum, between the Blue and White Niles. The scheme includes a modern ginning factory, where the lint is separated from the cotton seed and the crop baled for export.