Although the cotton market started the week higher, the market failed to generate any Monday afternoon buying enthusiasm. On Friday, traders had decided USDA’s monthly supply-demand data was not as bearish as feared, and thus the market closed higher.
That bullishness carried over to the Sunday night session, but the market could not hold. To that end, speculators continue to carry a sizable net short position. The latest commitment-of-traders data (March 5), showed managed money traders have reduced their bearish position by 2,700 contracts and stand at net short 18,300 contracts.
Certain analysts have indicated this is a dangerous position to carry given cotton’s seasonal tendency to rally into the spring planting period, plus the possibility that U.S./China trade agreement is in its final stages. Additionally, there continues to be steady talk India’s crop is worsening.
Soon the focus of the market will shift to the new crop. On March 29, USDA will release its planting intentions for the 2019 crop. While private polls have called for even greater acres for 2019, back in February the government was anticipating a 1% increase over 2018. Of course, to reiterate, the over-arching concern for the market is the U.S./China trade situation.
With a lower close Monday, the turnaround Tuesday phenomenon is in play. Still, until other and newer data is known, it will be hard for the cotton market to trade any direction but sideways.
May cotton settled 73.20 cents, down 0.29 cent, July closed 74.44 cents, off 0.19 cent and December finished 73.51 cents, up 0.01 cent. Monday’s estimated volume was 24,200 contracts.