DTN Cotton Close: Slips to Modest Losses in Tight Ranges

December closed on its lowest finish since Aug. 18. U.S. all-cotton commitments for 2017-18 reached 58% of projected exports and shipments about 11% after hitting a crop year low for the week.

Cotton futures closed modestly lower in 2017-18 crop year contracts Thursday as December dipped below the low of a month-long consolidation, losing ground for the fifth time in the last seven sessions.

December settled down 32 points at 67.31 cents, its lowest close since Aug. 18 and just off the low of its tight 62-point range from up 25 points at 67.88 to down 37 points at 67.26 cents.

The close was slightly below the low of October’s 257-point range, which has been watched for possible technical guidance, from 67.40 to 69.97 cents. The August low of 66.64 now is considered a nearby support area, then 66.15 and 65.50, with resistance at 67.88, 68.46 and 69.97.

March also closed down 32 points, settling at 67.01 cents, near the low of its 59-point range from 67.50 to 66.91 cents. The other contracts settled down 22 to up four points.

Forecasts indicating mostly favorable weather ahead for quickened harvesting in large areas of the U.S. Cotton Belt contributed to the market pressure.

Volume increased to an estimated 20,223 lots from 18,698 lots the previous session when spreads accounted for 9,090 lots or 49%, EFS 1,069 lots and EFP 25 lots. Options volume rose to 8,471 lots (3,919 calls and 4,552 puts) from 6,767 lots (3,154 calls and 3,610 puts). November options expire Friday.

Higher-than-expected U.S. all-cotton export sales for shipment this season of 270,700 running bales during the week ended last Thursday, up from 176,400 RB the previous week, boosted 2017-18 commitments to 8.157 million RB.

Commitments — outstanding sales of 6.519 million RB plus shipments — totaled 58% of USDA’s reduced 2017-18 export projection, compared with 42% of final 2016-17 shipments at the corresponding point last season.

But the lead of cumulative sales over commitments a year ago narrowed about 75,000 RB to 2.072 million RB or to 34%. Cumulative sales averaging roughly 144,100 RB per week would match the export forecast.

Sales for shipment next season of 8,800 RB hiked the weekly total for both crop years to 279,500 RB and lifted 2018-19 commitments to 791,800 RB, up from 428,000 RB in forward bookings a year ago.

All-cotton shipments at a marketing year low of 91,800 RB, down from 122,300 RB the week before, brought the 2017-18 total to 1.634 million RB. The lag behind year-ago exports widened about 41,000 RB to 1.936 million RB or to about 15%.

Shipments were about 11% of USDA’s export projection, compared with about 13% of last season’s final exports a year ago. To achieve the estimate, shipments now need to average approximately 309,700 RB a week.

Futures open interest dipped 185 lots to 229,627 on Wednesday, with December’s down 208 lots to 121,068 and March’s down 706 lots to 72,947. Decertification of 879 bales dropped stocks in deliverable position to 3,586 bales.

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