The coronavirus in China represents a significant wildcard in the world’s cotton market. 

That comes from the 2020 economic outlook released at the National Cotton Council’s annual meeting in New Orleans. 

The coronavirus outbreak in China may mean delays in the Asian country’s ability to increase purchases in the near-term. 

The NCC says that it makes it hard to predict what 2020 buying may look like in the cotton market during the year ahead. 

The NCC is projecting planted acreage to be 13 million acres, 5.5 percent less than in 2019. 

The Hagstrom Report says the expected drop in cotton acres is a result of slightly weaker cotton prices relative to corn and soybeans. 

Export markets for cotton, like many other commodities, continues to be the primary outlet for the raw fiber shipments from the U.S. World trade is estimated to be higher in the 2019 marketing year. 

However, retaliatory tariffs and increased competition from other major exporting countries have led to a sharp drop in the U.S. share of the cotton market in China. 

However, despite the continued U.S. and China trade disruptions, the NCC says U.S. export sales to other markets have been very strong for the current crop year.