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India signs advance deals to ship new season Cotton crop to China

India's cotton exporters have signed contracts to ship 500,000 bales (85,000 tonnes) of their new season harvest to China as the world's biggest consumer of the fibre looks to raise its imports in the next crop year, industry officials said.

Exporters in India, the world's biggest producer of Cotton, usually start selling new season Cotton from end-August, after estimating the nation's crop size. But robust demand from China and higher prices have prompted Indian exporters to sign deals in advance, the officials said.

"Chinese demand is very robust. They are ready to book Indian cotton. But Indian traders don't have a clear idea about the upcoming crop size and prices, so they are hesitant to commit to large amounts," said a top official of the Cotton Association of India (CAI).

Indian Cotton was sold at around 86 to 92 cents per pound on a cost and freight basis (C&F) to China, for shipments in November and December, trade sources said.

China will import 1.4 million tonnes of Cotton in the 2018/19 crop year, its agriculture ministry said in a statement, raising its forecast from a previous estimate of 1.2 million tonnes due to a poor local crop.

India's cotton exports are likely to jump nearly 30 percent from the previous year to a four-year high of 7.5 million bales (1.3 million tonnes) in the 2017/18 crop year, which ends on September 30.

Amid the robust export demand, cotton sowing in India has been delayed by nearly a fortnight in central and southern India due to patchy rainfall, but it is expected to pick up in coming weeks, said the official of CAI

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