In reality, about 700,000 bales remained unsold as the 2012-2013 marketing year began. This number is the second-largest carryover on record.

Supima President Jesse Curlee noted, “700,000 bales is a large number but a manageable level. A little improvement in Pima demand can move the cotton.”

Cameron said, “No matter how you spin it — it’s a lot of cotton. As always, demand will be a determining factor for pricing over the next 12 months.”

The all-time record carryover preceded the 2007-2008 marketing year.

“The bottom line is we have a lot of Pima cotton for consumption,” Cameron said. “This is why Supima’s marketing programs are so vitally needed today.”

The Supima chairman says actual Pima sales were relatively strong this past season. He calls this “good news,” given the economically-challenged world economy and related overall global declines in retail textile sales.

On the American Pima export side, shipments for the 2011-2012 marketing year totaled 594,000 bales, yet total actual sales for the season were more than 670,000 bales.

“This makes last season the sixth-highest export period on record and only 42,000 bales from the fourth largest on record,” Cameron said. “That’s not bad given the current global economy.”

Marc Lewkowitz, Supima executive vice-president, said China purchases about half of all American Pima exports (63,000 bales), followed by India at 18 percent, and Pakistan at 9 percent.