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DTN Cotton Close: Surges to Near-Limit Gain

Ernst Undesser
By Duane Howell DTN Cotton Correspondent October 23, 2017

DTN Cotton Close: Surges to Near-Limit Gain

Photo: University of Tennessee

December closed highest close since Sept. 11. Market jumped amid forecasts for an early freeze on the Texas Plains, reports of scattered weekend storms in the U.S. belt and more government support announced for cotton farmers in India. U.S. upland classing reached 722,596 RB.

Cotton futures soared to nearly a 300-point daily limit gain in spot December on heavy volume Monday and settled near the session peak at its highest finish since Sept. 11.

December settled up 284 points to 69.72 cents, trading within a 290-point range from up a point at 66.89 cents on the opening overnight to up 291 points at 69.79 cents, highest since Oct. 10. That was the strongest point gain since the limit-up finish on Sept. 5.

March gained 242 points to close at 69.19 cents, trading within a 242-point range from 66.83 to 69.25 cents. The other contract months settled up 94 to 229 points.

After sliding on Friday to within 69 points of the 2017 low set June 26, December rebounded back into the worn consolidation range from 67.40 to 69.97 cents. Friday’s low of 66.84 cents — lowest intraday price since Aug. 18 — now is regarded as an important chart support area.

Volume leaped to an estimated 54,915 lots from 25,387 lots the previous session when spreads accounted for 10,650 lots or 42% and EFP 23 lots. Options volume rose to 15,273 lots (8,860 calls and 6,413 puts) from 5,664 lots (2,293 calls and 3,371 puts).

The market jumped amid an early freeze forecast for the Texas Plains, reports of scattered weekend storms in the U.S. Cotton Belt and an announcement of additional support for cotton farmers in India.

India, the world’s largest cotton producer, announced an increase in the minimum cotton support price to 76 cents per pound from 72 cents. The government-determined MSP is considered an effective floor under the Indian cotton market.

Concerns were voiced about an early freeze disrupting fiber maturity in some cotton on the Texas High Plains and rains delaying the harvest and raising quality issues in Georgia and Alabama. A widespread freeze is “possible” Friday night and early Saturday on the Texas Plains, forecasters say. The normal first freeze date at Lubbock is Oct. 31.

Bolls in High Plains cotton range anywhere from 5%-10% open in some later plantings and in crops hit by growing season wind and hailstorms all the way to 100% open in some defoliated acreage, industry sources said.

The wide range makes an “average” estimate difficult to ascertain. Hail damaged some cotton in the Welch area of Dawson County over the weekend, adding to scattered hail and wind damage earlier this month.

U.S. upland classing increased to 722,596 running bales during the week ended Thursday, boosting the total for the season to 2.481 million RB, compared with 2.666 million RB graded a year ago.

The latest USDA weekly figures indicated about 13% of the estimated upland crop had been classed, against nearly 17% of final 2016 production at the corresponding point last year. Tenderable cotton accounted for 83.5% of the 2017-crop classed for the season, up from 69.7% a year ago.

Picker and stripper harvesting expanded in the West Texas Plains with daytime temperatures in the upper 70s to upper 80s last week, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service reported in a weekly cotton review.

More gins began processing seed cotton and modules began to accumulate on gin yards. Some gins put on night shifts to keep pace with the influx of modules. Boll openers and defoliants were applied by planes and spray rigs.

Producers completed harvesting in the Upper Coastal Bend. Ginning continued uninterrupted. An estimated 65% to 85% of the crop was off the stalk in Central and eastern Texas. Producers were encouraged with yields reported at 750 to 1,000 pounds per acre.

Some gins reported difficulties in transporting bales because of a lack of available trucks. With seed storage bins filled to capacity, gin managers were making decisions on managing piles of cottonseed.

Futures open interest dipped 125 lots to 228,047 on Friday, with December’s down 1,237 lots to 118,428 and March’s up 346 lots to 72,879. Certified stocks declined 651 bales to 2,344.

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Ernst Undesser
By Duane Howell DTN Cotton Correspondent October 23, 2017