Cotton futures fall on weak US export sales report
ICE cotton futures fell on Thursday, retreating from an over one-week peak hit earlier, after a weekly government report showed lower than expected exports and sales of the natural fiber. The front-month December contract, fell 0.3% at 64.73 cents per lb as of 11:57 am EDT (1557 GMT). It traded within a range of 64.63 cents and 65.55 cents a lb, its highest since October 14. The December contract was en route to its first weekly decline in five.
“There were some expectations from the weekly export sales that was stronger last week at 206,000 running bales (RB) but today, was about half of that at 140,000 RB, so that just sort of blunted the momentum of the market,” said Keith Brown, principal at cotton brokers Keith Brown and Co in Moultrie, Georgia.
The US Department of Agriculture in its weekly export-sales report showed net sales of 140,500 RB for the 2019/20 marketing year fell 32% from the previous week, while exports of 148,600 RB were down 2% for the same period.
The natural fiber has slid by about 10% so far this year owing to a long trade tiff between cotton’s top consumer China and one of the top producers, the United States.
Signs the trade dispute will not be resolved quickly and concerns over its impact on global growth have roiled markets since its conception.
“What could break cotton lower would be disappointing news as we head into the US-China trade talks and a bearish crop report on November 10,” Brown said. However, a decent cut in the US crop in the USDA’s November supply-demand report and “shorts deciding that we need to (break above) the monthly high of 65.85,” could push cotton higher to about 70 cents a lb, he added.
Total futures market volume fell by 10,712 to 13,093 lots. Data showed total open interest gained 1,289 to 239,201 contracts in the previous session.