Cleveland On Cotton: Market Still Thrashing Around In 4-Cent Range

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The very narrow four-cent trading range, 81-84 cents, basis December futures, remains in place, but it is teetering as if to be Humpty Dumpty.

The downside bias also remains in place. The September supply/demand report did little to spook the market lower, although it was slightly bearish. Talk of renewed trade discussions with China provided a very minor spark, but that burned out as soon as it was mentioned.

Even after USDA’s September supply/demand report was released the four person AgMarketNetwork.Com analysts all surmised the market hi-low trading range over the next month would be from the very high 70s to the low 90s.

That’s most likely correct, but the group typically has a bit narrower range. One can drive a truck through a range that wide.

The market has simply not been able to break below 80.50 cents or above 85.00 cents in over a month. The daily triple-digit whipsaw swings have continued to surface almost every single day. Look for more of the same.

Where The Bears Are

Bearish factors facing the market include a larger-than-expected U.S. crop as well as U.S. trading concerns surrounding Turkey and China. I have reputably indicated that the saber rattling between the U.S. and China favored the U.S. However, the market psychology has been a bit bearish since the dispute arose.

Yet, the dispute will not affect demand, only which boat will deliver the cotton. China’s textile economy needs U.S. cotton, one way or another. That need is enhanced now that the Australian crop has shrunk. It’s just a matter of time.

That said, the dispute could linger for a year or slightly longer. Also, the Turkish economy – dreadfully in the pits – has found its governmental policies have only exacerbated the cash shortage across the country.

Turkish mills have simply not been able to pay for cotton, despite the fact that mills have orders. They lack the hard currency to pay for imported cotton.

Lest We Forget Demand

On the market’s bullish side, we have demand, a necessary ingredient for higher prices. However, with the growing season little more than half done, the market remains focused on the supply side of the price equation rather than on demand.

USDA’s September supply/demand report included multiple changes but left the overall situation very much unchanged. U.S. production was increased some 450,000 bales and now stands at 19.7 million. Exports were increased to 15.7 million bales, up 200,000 bales and carryover was increased 100,000 bales, up to 4.7 million (as of July 31, 2019).

Export sales stand at 60% of the total USDA estimate compared to the average of 40% for this time of the year.

How’s The World Balancing Out

World ending stocks were increased marginally. The increase in world production was somewhat offset by lower beginning stocks. USDA made a small reduction in Indian beginning stocks, resulting from a revision in prior year’s data. Most analysts continue to feel USDA has still underestimated historic Indian consumption.

Cotton Commentary


World production was increased nearly 1.5 million bales with China, up 1.0 million bales; and Brazil and the U.S. up about 500,000 bales each. This was partially offset by a 500,000-bale decline in the Australian crop.

World production was increased to 120.5 million while world consumption was estimated at 127.9 million bales. Thus, the world production consumption gap was 7.4 million bales and world ending stocks were projected at 77.5 million bales, down from the year’s beginning stock level of 83.8 million bales. The USDA supply demand report can be viewed at https://www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/wasde/latest.pdf

Most feel the U.S. crop will be lower in the October report as a result of Hurricane Florence. That appears logical, but it is still early enough in the growing season that crop maturity could enhance yield prospects in the Midsouth and Southwest. It is September. Cotton needs dry weather the remainder of the growing season. Rain would be detrimental.


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