BEIJING, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- China's cotton prices continued tore bound in December as state purchases offset the impact of a weaker textile industry on cotton demand, said the country's top economic planner Thursday.
The average price of un-ginned cotton sold on the Chinese mainland market rose to 4.78 yuan (70 U.S. cents) per kilogram at the end of December, up 0.4 yuan from the lowest point in November, said the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
The price had seen consecutive declines from 5.76 yuan per kilogram at the beginning of September till mid-November.
Cotton demand has decreased since the second half of last year as China's textile industry bore the brunt of the global financial crisis.
The NDRC attributed the price rise to the government's massive purchases of cotton from farmers since October.
In order to support domestic cotton prices and reduce farmers' losses, the NDRC announced plans in October and December to buy 2.72 million tons of cotton from growers as state reserves.
By the end of December, 53.4 percent of the planned purchases had been completed, said the NDRC.
China's textile and garment export climbed 8.2 percent year-on-year to 185.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2008, customs data show. The growth was 10.7 percentage points lower from the 2007 rate.
As a result of reduced foreign demand, Chinese textile firms saw profits for the first 11 months of 2008 fall 1.77 percent from the same period of 2007, to 104.2 billion yuan, official figures show. It was the first decline in ten years.