DTN Cotton Close: Touches 4-Week High in May

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Supportive U.S. export sales-shipments report expected. Minor changes in the global supply-demand balance sheet for 2017-18 included significant historical residual revisions for Brazil and Australia.

Cotton futures pushed to a new four-week high and settled on modest gains Wednesday ahead of the U.S. weekly export sales-shipments report.

Spot May closed up 30 points to 83.83 cents, its highest close since March 9 and in the upper third of its tight 73-point range from 83.31 cents to 84.04 cents. It printed the highest intraday price since March 12.

July gained 24 points to settle at 83.41 cents, trading within a 64-point range from 82.97 cents to 83.61 cents. December finished up 25 points to 78.63 cents, 31 points from its contract high set March 13 and two ticks from the high of the day’s 43-point range.

Supportive export sales-shipments generally are expected in USDA’s weekly report scheduled for release at 7:30 a.m. CST Thursday. Ongoing dry conditions in the Texas Plains also offered support.

Volume dropped to an estimated 59,800 lots from 72,834 lots the prior session when spreads accounted for 50,571 lots or 69%, EFS 554 lots and EFP 479 lots. Options volume dipped to 7,781 lots (5,575 calls and 2,206 puts) from 8,249 lots (5,053 calls and 3,196 puts).

Minor changes in the monthly global supply-demand balance sheet for 2017-18 this week included significant historical “loss-attribute” revisions beginning in 2010-11 in USDA estimates for Australia and Brazil.

Improvement in data quality in many countries over the last decade led USDA to determine that those statistical residuals no longer are necessary. In Brazil in particular, the removal brought the USDA estimate more in line with both government and industry estimates of stock-holding.

Although phasing out those residuals resulted in a combined 2017-18 downward adjustment in Brazil and Australia of 1.25 million bales, year-over-year changes in stocks were little changed.

Combined with higher production, Brazil’s ending stocks were lowered 300,000 bales to 8 million. Combined with a lower export forecast, Australia’s ending stocks were lowered 100,000 bales to 2.7 million.

The USDA’s production estimate for Brazil of 8.7 million bales, up 700,000 bales from its March forecast, compares with the modestly increased April forecast by CONAB — the Brazilian agriculture agency of 1.86 million metric tons or 8.5 million statistical 480-pound bales.

Last year’s successful season and this year’s higher prices encouraged producers to increase the cotton area, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service said, and weather thus far has been favorable.

The new USDA crop estimate is up 1.7 million bales or 24% from last year and the harvested area of 1.2 million hectares (2.965 million acres) is up 25%. Most of the cotton will be harvested from June to August.

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