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China to start state cotton sales after mid-April -official

BEIJING, March 21 (Reuters) - China's government may begin
selling its bulging state cotton reserves starting from the
middle of April, with a priority to offer good-quality cotton,
including imported fibre, a government official said last week.

Yin Jian, a division chief with the National Development and
Reform Commission, told an industry conference on Friday that
the sales would be held regularly, with the additional aim of
reducing the financial burden to the government.

He gave no details regarding the volume or prices. Excerpts
of his speech were published on an industry website on Friday
(www.cottonchina.org).

The government is under pressure to sell its ageing
stockpile, which degrades over time and is racking up storage
costs. Beijing is holding about 11 million tonnes, or half of
all global stocks, in state reserves after a three year
stockpiling programme.

International market participants are watching closely as
China's state sales could dent demand for cotton imports by the
world's top textile manufacturer. ICE cotton futures slipped
over 2 percent Friday on China's planned sales.

"There is not much news from Yin's remarks, except that the
market has earlier expected this to happen in early April," said
one trader with an international trading house. Details may be
published by the end of this month, said the trader.

The delay in the state sales supported Zhengzhou futures
cotton prices <0#CCF:> on Monday. The most-active September
contract traded at two-week high of 10,510 yuan ($1,621)
per tonne in the morning session.

($1 = 6.4836 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Niu Shuping; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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