Cotton Rises to Record as Adverse Weather Cuts World Supply By Jae Hur and Debarati Roy - Feb 2, 2011 10:57 AM ET Cotton futures surged to a record on mounting supply concerns after flooding in Pakistan and Australia slashed crops. Pakistan, the fourth-biggest grower of cotton, faces a shortfall of 2.5 million bales, according to the nationâs textile mills association. An Australia industry group said last month that 300,000 bales were lost, and the northeast part of the country braced today for Tropical Cyclone Yasi. Cotton inventories monitored by ICE Futures U.S. tumbled 85 percent since June 1 and prices have more than doubled. âAt the moment, supply is extremely tight,â said Hiroyuki Kikukawa, the general manager of research at IDO Securities Co. in Tokyo. âNothing can stop the current runaway price for the time being.â Cotton futures for March delivery contract rose 3.87 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $1.7609 a pound at 10:55 a.m. on ICE in New York. Earlier, prices climbed to a record $1.7612. The most-active contract advanced 4.5 percent in the previous two sessions. The commodity has more than doubled in the past year, pushed by an 86 percent increase in 2010 imports by China as economic growth lifted textile-industry demand and adverse weather hurt domestic-crop quality. Imports totaled 2.84 million metric tons for the year, according to customs data. Thatâs the most since 2006, when China bought a record 3.47 million tons, data compiled by Bloomberg show. China âcontinues to aggressively buy at high levels in order to ensure delivery of cotton to meet robust demand,â Evren Kopelman, an analyst at Wells Fargo Securities LLC., wrote in a Jan. 31 report. For the year that began Aug. 1, the U.S. will be the largest exporter, followed by India, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Chinaâs markets are closed for the Lunar New Year holidays. Trading will resume on Feb. 9. September-delivery cotton on the Zhengzhou Commodity reached a record 33,790 yuan ($5,131) yesterday.