The blue line in the chart above shows actual weekly export shipments through the past week of the 2022/23 marketing year (converted from running bales into 480 lb. statistical bales, using USDA’s conversion factor of 1.03). The week ending May 18 saw export shipments exceed the needed average weekly pace needed to reach USDA’s 12.6 million bale target. This also continues to reflect the normal seasonal pattern where weekly export shipments are lower in the fall and higher in the spring/summer. The real test will be if cotton export shipments can maintain the pace during the highly competitive summer shipping season.
Another indicator of export demand is the percent of U.S. export total commitments to USDA’s forecast export target of 12.6 million bales. Total commitments of all cotton as of May 18, 2023 include 9,417,865 bales worth of accumulated exports of all cotton, i.e., pima and upland sold and actually shipped since August 1. It also includes another 3,655,497 running bales of pima and upland sold but not yet shipped (“outstanding sales”). The total of accumulated exports and outstanding sales is 13,073,362 running bales of total commitments which, after converting to statistical bales, is 107% of USDA’s 12.6 million bale target for 2022/23 U.S. exports. This is in the upper end of historical seasonal patterns of export sales (see below).