Market posted gains for the week. U.S. supply-demand estimates came in within the parameters of most trade expectations, while offsetting changes in foreign production and consumption highlighted a slight decline in world ending stocks.
Cotton futures finished a session of turbulent price action on heavy volume in the red Friday, swinging over wide ranges after climbing overnight to new contract highs in current-crop deliveries.
The market skidded to triple-digit losses ahead of USDA’s supply-demand estimates, pared the losses and then tumbled to new session lows following only modest overall changes in U.S. and world balance sheets.
Spot March settled down 97 points to 81.68 cents, in the lower third of its 435-point range from up 200 points at 84.65 to down 235 points at 80.30 cents. It still advanced 367 points for the week.
May shed 100 points to close at 81.96 cents and July lost 78 points to settle at 82.22 cents, but were still up 371 and 354 points, respectively, for the week.
The other contracts finished mixed, down 61 to up 34 points, with new-crop December down eight points for the day and up 98 points for the week at 75.34 cents.
Traders will have a long weekend to think about the supply-demand estimates. The market will be closed Monday in observance of Market Luther King Jr. Day.
Volume rose to an electronically estimated 73,100 lots from 64,086 lots the prior session when spreads accounted for 27,033 lots or 42%, EFS 1,274 lots and EFP 60 lots.
U.S. supply-demand estimates came in within the parameters of most trade expectations, with all-cotton production dropping a slight 180,000 bales from the December estimate to 21.26 million and ending stocks slipping a modest 100,000 bales to 5.7 million.
That still would be the largest crop since 2006-07. The USDA shaved plantings 10,000 acres to 12.61 million and trimmed the harvested area 64,000 acres to 11.35 million, resulting in an abandonment of 1.26 million acres or 10%. Yields are estimated at 899 pounds per acre, down from a record 902 pounds forecast last month but up from 867 pounds last year.
The crop cut reflected small declines in regions outside the Delta. The estimate for top-producing Texas was unchanged at a record 9.5 million bales, up from last season’s 8.1 million bales. For Georgia, the estimate dipped 50,000 bales to 2.25 million, up from 2.18 million in 2016.
The export projection remained at 14.8 million bales and expected domestic mill use stayed at 3.35 million bales. Export sales have been running well ahead of the pace needed to reach the estimate, but shipments have consistently lagged behind and are down about 13% from last year.
Based on these updated estimates, the stocks-to-use ratio is expected to wind up at 31.4, compared with 32% projected last month, 15.1% last season and 30.2% in 2015-16.
The USDA forecast for the marketing year average price rose 3 cents per pound to a midpoint of 69 cents within a range from 67 to 71 cents. Producer prices averaged 68 cents last season and 61.20 cents in 2015-16.
Globally, offsetting changes in foreign production and consumption highlighted a slight 210,000-bale decrease of 150,000 bales to 87.79 million in world ending stocks, still up a marginal 150,000 bales from the year before.
World production rose by 1.01 million bales to 120.97 million as a 1.4-million-bale increase to 26.40 million in China was only partly offset by small decreases in India, the United States and Australia.
Global consumption rose by 1.24 million bales to 120.83 million, largely on a million-bale increase to 40 million in China. World mill use is forecast to grow at a 5.2% annual rate this season, more than double its long-run level.
Futures open interest jumped 7,371 lots to 295,476 on Thursday, with March’s up 1,693 lots to 168,863 and May’s up 3,245 lots to 63,408. Certificated stocks grew 168 bales to 48,110. A reduction to 6,480 bales at the Houston delivery point and an increase to 22,841 bales at Galveston reflected a certificated transfer under ICE rules.