In an unusual turnaround, Indian textile manufacturers who built industries around domestic cotton are importing U.S. cotton. “Indian prices are not reliable,” says Ashish Shah, managing director of Aarvee Denims, an Indian clothing manufacturer. Cotton buyers in China, Turkey and Egypt also are turning to cheaper imported cotton, depleting India’s cotton exports from 8.5 million bales in previous years to 2.5 million bales in 2008. The price difference between Indian cotton (57 cents) and American cotton (54 cents) seems minor, but when millions of bales are involved, buyers seek the cheapest raw materials.
IFAI is now ATA