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 (15.0 million bales) of what total exports will be by July 31, 2018. The level actual shipments has been above that necessary.
Another more detailed indicator of export demand is the percent of U.S. export total commitments to USDA’s forecasted export target of 15.0 million bales. Total commitments of all cotton as of April 5, 2018 include 8,893,856 bales worth of accumulated exports of all cotton, i.e., pima and upland sold and actually shipped. It also includes another 6,721,922 bales of pima and upland sold but not yet shipped (“outstanding sales”). The total of these is 15.6 million bales of total commitments which is 104% of USDA’s 15.0 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 15.0 million bale export target is too low, unless there are large cancellations or logistical roadblocks.