COTTON MERCHANT SEES LOW PRICES UNTIL '93-'94

COTTON MERCHANT SEES LOW PRICES UNTIL '93-'94

World cotton prices are likely to remain low until the 1993-94 (August-July) crop year, when they will have their best opportunity for a rebound, said Billy Dunavant, president of Memphis-based Dunavant Enterprises.

Speaking here to the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, he said prices could exceed the 70-cent-a-pound level during that 1993-94 crop year. But he warned of possible declining prices until then.However, to meet that higher price projection, Mr. Dunavant said a much higher U.S. government-funded acreage-reduction program of 20 percent to 25 percent was needed. He also predicted the United States will end up with 3.3 million bales of carry-over for this coming year.

Mr. Dunavant based his projections and his reasons for continued low world prices on combined world data, which his company had collected during the past few weeks. However, he excluded mainland China from his survey, saying the Chinese cotton crop would remain stable at approximately 24 million to 26 million bales.

Mr. Dunavant said the total demand for cotton between now and Sept. 30 would be 3.5 million bales and supply will be 8.4 million bales.

"That's 5.0 million bales out there fighting for placement," he said. Mr. Dunavant said he sees some positive things for 1992-93, "but not enough." He said world production will go from 88.8 million bales to 92.5 million next year, and said that is a 2.0-million-bale difference from this year.

He also updated his forecasts from January, saying that due to bad weather in Texas his projection of 17.7 million bales of U.S. production would fall short by approximately 170,000.