CHICAGO (B)--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's attache in Syria projected 2000-01 cotton output at 290,000 tonnes, down from 312,000 in 1999-2000, as planted area declines. However, 2000-01 exports were pegged at 250,000 tonnes, up from 200,000 the previous year, following two abundant crop years.

The state-owned Cotton Marketing Organization prefers to keep stocks to a minimum. However, ending stocks have been increasing as production outpaces domestic demand and low world prices keep exports out of the international market, the attache said.

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