DTN Cotton Close: Finishes Inside Day on Modest Gains

©Debra L Ferguson Stock Images

Showers expected to break record long dry spell in the Lubbock area of the Texas Plains. Mills priced 9,824 lots in the March, May and July deliveries.

Cotton futures finished on modest gains Friday, trading within the previous-session price ranges ahead of the long holiday weekend.

Most-active May settled up 39 points to 77.16 cents, just off the high of its 78-point range from down 30 points at 76.47 to up 48 points at 77.26 cents. It snapped a four-session losing streak.

March, which enters its delivery notice period on Thursday, closed up 31 points to 75.75 cents, confined to a 74-poiunt range from 75.13 to 75.87 cents. July gained 36 points to 78.12 cents and December edged up 13 points to 75.62 cents.

Traders may have had second thoughts about the supportive U.S. weekly export sales reported by USDA on Thursday, but inside-range days also can be viewed as a sign of indecisiveness.

For the week, the market lost 96 points in March, 57 points in May and 46 points in July, while December eked up 10 points.

Volume slowed to an estimated 28,100 lots from 38,028 lots the previous session when spreads accounted for 20,223 lots or 53%, EFP 213 lots and EFS 29 lots. Options volume declined to 6,344 lots (5,399 calls and 945 puts) from 7,652 lots (5,842 calls and 1,810 puts).

On the weather front, showers are expected to break a record long period — and counting — without measurable precipitation at Lubbock on the Texas High Plains.

Slight rain chances Friday were forecast to improve to 60% tonight, spread east to the Rolling Plains shortly after midnight and quickly taper off before sunrise. Generally light rainfall is expected. At least a quarter of an inch could fall in some locations and up to around half an inch in a few others, forecasters say.

Farmers say a slow, soaking rain of 2 to 3 inches is what’s needed. There’s still time to make up the moisture deficit ahead of the optimum cotton planting time around May 5-20 in the Lubbock area. The winter months typically are dry and there’s carryover subsoil moisture from a relatively wet 2017. Drought conditions, however, have been worsening.

Through Thursday, no measureable precipitation had fallen at Lubbock for a record 99 days, according to the National Weather Service. The last measurable amount was 0.03 of an inch on Nov. 9. The prior mark of 98 days stretched from Oct. 28, 2005 through Feb. 2, 2006. Records go back to 1911. The third longest dry period of 88 days was in October-January, 1921-22.

Meanwhile, mills priced 9,824 on-call lots in the March, May and July contracts last week to reduce their unpriced old-crop sales to 85,557 lots, according to data reported by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission after the close Thursday.

Producers priced a net 111 lots to shave their unfixed position to 10,306 lots. The net call difference narrowed 9,763 lots to 75,251, which was 36.18% of the declining open interest, up from 34.3%. The unpriced mill position outweighed that of producers by a ratio of 8.3:1.

Futures open interest declined 3,481 lots to 259,069 on Thursday, with March’s down 4,331 lots to 19,141 and May’s up 921 lots to 119,415. Certificated stocks grew 1,323 bales to 91,472. Awaiting review were 487 bales at Galveston.

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