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Govt rules out ban on cotton exports

Source: PTI
November 03, 2003 18:22 IST
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The government on Monday ruled out any ban on cotton exports to stabilise domestic prices as commodity is being increasingly diverted to take advantage of soaring global prices.

Though there has been bumper crop in Punjab, Maharashtra and Gujarat this year, cotton prices are rising continuously as exports are on the upswing due to bad crop in China and elsewhere.

After a poor harvest last year, the country's cotton production is expected to be 170 lakh bales this year as against 136 lakh bales last year, Textiles Minister Syed Shahnawaz Hussain said.

As cotton already come under Open General Licence there is no question of banning its exports, Textiles Secretary S B Mohapatra said.

He said cotton prices were ruling around Rs 2,200 a quintal until recently and shot up to Rs 2,400 a quintal which was still lower than international prices pegged at around Rs 2,600 a quintal.

Though the soaring prices have hit domestic textiles Mills, they have come as a boon to farmers who suffered a bad crop last year.

"In the interest of farmers there was no rationale for even contemplating a ban on exports, nor was it possible as the commodity was under OGL," Mohapatra said.

Mohapatra said prospects for exports of the commodity had brightened up on the back of a bumper crop this year and added that prices of cotton which had shot up last year should stabilise to some extent.

However, he said the price may not come down so much as Chinese crop this year has not been so good and China is likely to rely on imports.

He said country's reliance on cotton imports this year is going to be very marginal due to good crop and the farmers have a very big opportunity to export.

Currently, arrivals in the market stood at 70,000 bales which are expected to go up in December and January.

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