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KARACHI: Double threats to cotton crop. Threats to cotton crop due to substandard seeds and Locust attack. Efforts are being made on a war footing to eradicate Locusts. Army is also helping civil administration in their efforts to eradicate Locusts. The international cotton market is in turmoil due to the growing controversy between China and the United States. It will be difficult to estimate cotton production this year. The deal of 200 bales of new crop cotton was settled at Rs 7800 per maund. The cotton market reopened on Thursday after long Eid-ul-Fitr holidays but traditionally, the first day after Eid-ul-Fitr is usually spent in Eid greetings but the business remained low on Friday and Saturday however 600 bales of Ghotki cotton were sold at a price of Rs 8500 per maund while a report has also been received from lower area of Sindh Badin regarding arrival of 50 maund Phutti which was sold at Rs 3500 per 40 Kg. Moreover, the first deal of 2020-21 new cotton crops was settled at Rs 7800 per maund. The Spot Rate Committee of Karachi Cotton Association has stabled the rate at Rs 8600 per maund. Although there was hardly any business in the market however, the rate of cotton in Sindh and Punjab is in between Rs 6500 to Rs 8500 per maund according to the quality. The ginners are waiting for buyers for selling about 5 lac bales. Market sources said that it is possible that some business will be recorded from the first week. It is hoped that some trade inquiries will begin after June 15 because usually after Eid-ul-Fitr, the clothing business in particular comes to a standstill. While on the other hand because of the increasing Coronavirus cases, the uncertainty is increasing. According to the information received, the mills are receiving special orders for the mask from abroad, especially from European countries and the United States but this will not benefit the entire textile sector. However, sources in the textile sector said that some export agreements with European and American importers were made earlier, many of which were canceled however there are reports that some of these agreements have been reinstated. Chairman Karachi Cotton Brokers Forum Naseem Usman told that even before the start of cotton sowing this year, there has been a massive attack of Locust on crops, due to which there is uncertainty among farmers. The wheat crop suffered minor damage later, as soon as the sowing of cotton and rice begins, the crop was attacked by Locust. The Locust has attacked crops in different agricultural areas of the country. According to reports, crops are currently being severely affected. Government and Plant Protection Department of Ministry of National Food Security and Research and National Disaster Management Authority are taking steps on war footings for the eradication of Locusts. This year cotton crop faces two major problems firstly the low germination seed and secondly the severe attack of Locust there is a risk of irreparable damage to cotton crops. Due to these reasons, it will be difficult to estimate the production of cotton even after the completion of the sowing period this year. According to the information received from the lower areas of Sindh province, the crop is currently growing satisfactorily in these areas, while Pepper and rice crops are also being given priority in many areas. Crops in Upper Sindh and especially in Punjab are being severely damaged due to severe Locust attack. Naseem Usman told that over all bearish trends was witnessed in international markets. The tussel starts in New York Cotton Market between America and China but this time the cause of tussel is not the economic conflict but the reasons are spread of Coronavirus and China's strong control over Hong Kong due to which America is very angry. Due to these conflicts American cotton market was badly affected. The rate of New York Cotton was 56.50 American cents per pound which was lowest in three weeks, although increase of 43 percent was recorded in USDA weekly export report. China was again the biggest importer after importing one lac thirteen thousand bales. The rate of cotton remained stable in China while the cotton business in India came under pressure. Corona has badly affected the Indian textile industry due to which the demand of cotton is decreasing. In Pakistan textile industry is facing challenges due to Coronavirus. The textile exports were decreased by 64 percent. Due to non-sale of garments in local markets, there is ample stock available. There is also almost no demand of cotton yarn in the market. There is a severe financial crisis in the market.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020