DTN Cotton Close: Tight-Range Day Ends Modestly Down

U.S. crop forecast seen dropping fractionally to 21.33 million bales. World ending stocks outside China expected to rise to 11.96 million bales, Cotton Outlook says.

Cotton futures settled modestly lower Friday, unable to generate follow-through to the prior session’s strong jump as traders looked ahead to USDA’s monthly supply-demand estimates.

March dropped 51 points to close at 73.72 cents, just off the low of its tight 66-point range from up five points at 74.28 cents to down 61 points at 73.62 cents. It edged a tick above the prior session’s seven-month high but quickly slipped.

The spot contract gained 43 points for the week, its seventh weekly gain in a row for an advance of 659 points or 10.4%. May dropped 44 points to settle at 74.20 cents, still up 43 points for the week.

The other contracts were unchanged to down 48 points, with December 2018 down the most at 72.08 cents but still up 87 points for the week on an estimated turnover for the session of 1,371 lots.

Market volume dipped to an estimated 33,867 lots from 37,940 lots the previous session when spreads accounted for 12,049 lots or 32%, EFS 1,800 lots and EFP two lots. Options volume increased to 13,333 lots (6,074 calls and 7,259 puts) from 10,085 lots (6,799 calls and 3,286 puts).

Traders took note of an average U.S. crop projection 21.33 million bales in a survey of industry participants, down fractionally from 21.38 million forecast by USDA last month but up from last season’s 17.17 million bales.

Analysts’ production estimates spanned a wide million-bale range from 20.75 million to 21.75 million ahead of USDA’s updated forecasts scheduled for release at 11 a.m. CST on Tuesday.

A jump in exports is expected on average to help cut ending stocks to 5.7 million bales from USDA’s November forecast of 6.1 million bales. Estimates ranged from 4.47 million to 6.4 million bales, up from last season’s 2.75 million bales.

Separately, Cotton Outlook in a monthly review shaved its projection of global production to 25.973 million metric tons (119.29 million 480-pound bales), still up nearly 14% from last season. The USDA forecast last month was 121.46 million bales.

Little change seemed warranted in global cotton consumption, Cotlook indicated, forecasting mill use at 25.184 million tons (115.67 million bales), an implied growth of almost 1.6% from its estimate for the previous year. This compares with USDA’s 119.25 million bales, up 4.4% from its estimate for last season of 114.22 million bales.

An addition to global stocks of over 790,000 tons (3.27 million bales) appears in prospect by the end of 2017-18, according to Cotlook, down modestly from the 840,000 (3.59 million bales) foreseen a month ago.

However, as consistently noted, expectations of a sizable stock reduction in China of almost 1.9 million tons (8.73 million bales) “disguises the situation in the ‘rest of the world,’ where an addition in excess of 2.6 million tons (11.94 million bales) is foreseen,” it said.

The USDA expected world stocks outside China to expand 10.96 million bales to 51.21 million, down from its previous projection of 52.91 million bales but still a record high. It had the global carryout at 90.88 million bales, up 2.21 million bales from beginning stocks.

Futures open interest grew 1,540 lots to 251,409 on Thursday, with May’s up 718 lots to 170,924 and May’s up 332 lots to 42,813. Certified stocks remained at 47,628 bales.

The Latest