Cotton shortage means more expensive clothing

woman picking cotton
woman picking cotton

Are you a fan of "the fabric of our lives?" Then you may be disappointed with the near-future prospect for cotton. Low production in China, India and Pakistan, and an increase in demand from these same growing markets, could result in a cotton shortage this winter, with higher clothing prices to follow.

The crop in India, the world's second largest cotton grower with 23.5 million bales in 2009, suffered from widespread flooding, as did Pakistan. Some of production-king China's crop (32 million bales in 2009) may have fallen victim to unusually cold weather. Fortunately, the U.S. crop, in 2009, third largest in the world at 12.2 million bales, promises to be bountiful, else the price pressure would be even greater. The U.S. is the world's largest exporter of cotton.