The blue line in the chart above shows actual weekly exports 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 (14.5 million bales) of what total exports will be by July 31, 2018. The current sub-par pace does not mean very much. It is very early in the 2017/18 marketing year, so it is not unusual so see actual exports bunched up in later months.
Another more detailed indicator of export demand is the percent of U.S. export total commitments to USDA’s forecasted export target of 14.5 million bales. Total commitments of all cotton as of November 9, 2017 include 2,056,551 bales worth of accumulated exports of all cotton, i.e., pima and upland sold and actually shipped. It also includes another 7,377,243 bales of pima and upland sold but not yet shipped (“outstanding sales”). The total of these is 9.4 million bales of total commitments which is 65% of USDA’s 14.5 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 export demand so far.