The blue line in the chart above shows actual weekly export shipments through the past week of the 2017/18 marketing year (converted from running bales into 480 lb. statistical bales). The red line shows the level of exports of all U.S. cotton (i.e., upland and pima) required to meet the USDA projection (16.2 million bales) of what total exports will be by July 31, 2018. The level actual shipments is currently below that which is necessary.
Another indicator of export demand is the percent of U.S. export total commitments to USDA’s forecasted export target of 16.2 million bales. Total commitments of all cotton as of July 5, 2018 include 14,351,295 bales worth of accumulated exports of all cotton, i.e., pima and upland sold and actually shipped. It also includes another 2,595,903 bales of pima and upland sold but not yet shipped (“outstanding sales”). The total of these is 16,947,198 bales of total commitments which is 105% of USDA’s 16.2 million bale target for 2017/18 U.S. exports. Such a percentage is higher than in the previous five years (see the orange line on the chart below), and represents an indicator of relatively good and expanding export demand. It implies that either the 16.2 million bale export target is too low, or there will be large cancellations and logistical roadblocks that prevent some of those outstanding sales from being shipped, or maybe some of both.