DTN Cotton Close: Market Takes Big Hit Amid Stock Market Skid

©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

Steep losses in U.S. stock market indexes sent vibes into the cotton market on the heels of news of an 8.3% drop in cotton imports by China this calendar year.

Cotton futures finished sharply lower Tuesday, extending the prior session’s reversal off a new seven-week high.

Most-active July lost 261 points to close at 81.51 cents, its lowest finish since April 4 and in the lower quarter of its 319-point range from up 43 points at 84.55 cents to down 276 points at 81.36 cents. Maturing May fell 93 points to settle at 82.26 cents.

December finished down 176 points to 77.59 cents, just off the low of its 218-point range from 79.68 cents to 77.50 cents. It closed on its lowest settlement in 15 sessions.

Steep losses in U.S. stock market indexes sent negative vibes into the cotton market on the heels of a drop reported in China’s cotton imports this calendar year. The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield pierced 3% for the first time in four years.

Volume increased to an estimated 40,000 lots from 38,113 lots the prior session when spreads accounted for 14,714 lots or 39%, EFP 251 lots and EFS 61 lots. Options volume slipped to 7,311 lots (3,769 calls and 3,542 puts) from 12,856 lots (9,228 calls and 3,627 puts).

China’s raw cotton imports dropped 11% to 107,369 metric tons or about 493,100 480-pound bales last month, according to government data. Imports for the first four months of the calendar year slipped 8.3% to 343,733 tons or 1.578 million bales.

The USDA’s latest import estimate for China is 5.1 million bales in the 2017-18 marketing year ending July 31, up 1.4% from 5.03 million bales last season. China currently ranks as the second largest buyer of U.S. cotton this season on purchases of 2.697 million bales, behind 2.968 million bales bought by Vietnam.

China, the world’s leading cotton spinner, is forecast by USDA to use 40 million bales in 2017-18, up 2.5 million bales from the prior year and about one-third of global cotton consumption. Additionally, USDA says, China’s cotton yarn imports could account for the equivalent of 8 million bales to support its growing textile and fiber and apparel industry.

While world cotton mill use has been rising relatively steadily for the past six seasons, an expanding global economy and a slowdown in polyester production have contributed to above-average growth thus far this year. The USDA’s 2017-18 world cotton consumption estimate of 120.4 million bales is 5.6 million bales or 5% above 2016-17.

Despite the highest cotton consumption in a decade, world 2017-18 production is expected to exceed mill use for the first time in three years. Prior to 2015-16, global cotton production had been above consumption for five consecutive seasons.

However, even though world-ending stocks are projected up 1.5 million bales to 88.3 million, the global stocks-to-use ratio is forecast to decline to 73%, its lowest level in six years.

The forecast implies about nine months’ worth of cotton consumption available at the end of the season, not considering the makeup of the stocks or the long-standing contention that USDA’s estimate for India’s carryout is sharply overstated.

Certified stocks dipped 439 bales to 67,997. There were 265 newly certified bales and 704 bales decertified. Open interest grew 2,198 lots to 284,779 on Monday, with May’s down 2,788 lots to 3,488, July’s up 2,484 lots to 136,587 and December’s up 1,925 lots to 192,928.

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