Weekly Cotton Market Review – USDA

Young cotton rows in saturated soil. Photo: University of Georgia

Spot quotations averaged 34 points higher than the previous week, according to the USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service’s Cotton and Tobacco Program. Quotations for the base quality of cotton (color 41, leaf 4, staple 34, mike 35-36 and 43-49, strength 27.0-28.9, and uniformity 81.0-81.9) in the seven designated markets averaged 71.81 cents per pound for the week ending Thursday, April 4, 2019.

The weekly average was up from 71.47 last week, but down from 77.93 cents reported the corresponding period a year ago. Daily average quotations ranged from a high of 72.07 cents Friday, March 29 to a low of 71.59 cents Wednesday, April 3. Spot transactions reported in the Daily Spot Cotton Quotations for the week ended April 4 totaled 39,609 bales. This compares to 72,955 reported last week and 34,740 spot transactions reported the corresponding week a year ago.

Total spot transactions for the season were 1,025,451 bales compared to 1,732,357 bales the corresponding week a year ago. The ICE May settlement prices ended the week at 77.32 cents, compared to 75.87 cents last week.

USDA ANNOUNCES SPECIAL IMPORT QUOTA #24 FOR UPLAND COTTON April 4, 2019

The Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corporation announced a special import quota for upland cotton that permits importation of a quantity of upland cotton equal to one week’s domestic mill use. The quota will be established on April 11, 2019, allowing importation of 12,157,032 kilograms (55,836 bales) of upland cotton.

Quota number 24 will be established as of April 11, 2019, and will apply to upland cotton purchased not later than July 9, 2019, and entered into the U.S. not later than October 7, 2019. The quota is equivalent to one week’s consumption of cotton by domestic mills at the seasonally-adjusted average rate for the period December 2018 through February 2019, the most recent three months for which data are available.

Future quotas, in addition to the quantity announced, will be established if price conditions warrant.

Southeastern Markets Regional Summary

Spot cotton trading was inactive. Supplies and producer offerings were moderate. Demand was moderate. Average local spot prices were steady. Trading of CCC-loan equities was inactive. Producers took advantage of higher ICE futures during the period to fix prices on a moderate volume of previously contracted 2019-crop cotton.

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A mix of cloudy to sunny conditions was observed across the lower Southeast during the period. Daytime high temperatures were in the upper 70s to upper 60s over the weekend before dipping into the upper 50s early week. Warmer daytime temperatures returned late week along with isolated rain showers. Weekly accumulated precipitation totals measured from one-quarter of an inch to around one inch of moisture in localized areas of north Alabama and southeast Georgia, with lesser accumulations observed elsewhere.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, due to short-term dryness over the past 1 to 3 months, areal coverage of moderate drought expanded into the western Florida Panhandle, the Alabama Gulf Coast, parts of southern Alabama, and across south Georgia. Producers applied pre-plant burndowns and herbicides; harrowing and plowing of fields was also getting underway in some cotton fields.

Cotton leaf roll dwarf virus (Cotton Blue Disease or CLRDV-AL) – a disease spread by aphids that damaged cotton in 2018 in Alabama counties bordering the Florida Panhandle – has been confirmed by Alabama Cooperative Extension System plant pathologists. Alabama and Georgia Extension professionals are developing guidelines and recommendations to help manage the disease and will issue the recommendations as spring planting draws closer.

Sunny to mostly cloudy conditions were observed across the Carolinas and Virginia over the weekend with daytime high temperatures in the upper 70s to low 60s. Daytime highs dipped into the low 40s to low 50s early in the week and heavy rainfall was received in areas of the eastern Carolinas. Precipitation totals measured from 1 to 2 inches with heavier downpours observed in the Pee Dee region and the Outer Banks. In areas where soils were firm enough to support equipment, producers applied herbicides, pre-plant burndowns, and prepared fields for spring planting.

Textile Mill

Domestic mill buyers inquired for a moderate volume of 2019-crop cotton, color 51 and better, leaf 4 and 5, and staple 34 and longer for fourth quarter 2019 delivery. No sales were reported. Additional demand was light; reports indicated most mills had covered their immediate-to-nearby raw cotton needs. Most mills operated five to seven days.

Demand through export channels was moderate. Agents for mills throughout the Far East inquired for a moderate volume of 2019-crop cotton, color 42, leaf 5, and staple 34 and 35 for October through December shipment. No sales were reported. The undertone from mills buyers remained cautious as they continued to monitor developments in the trade talks between China and the U.S.

Trading

  • No trading activity was reported.

South Central Markets Regional Summary

North Delta

Spot cotton trading was inactive. Supplies of available cotton and demand were light. Average local spot prices were steady. Trading of CCC-loan equities was inactive. No forward contracting was reported. Merchants were slowly clearing existing inventories. Producers were hesitant to book new-crop cotton as they continued to monitor commodity markets and international trade developments.

Cool and cloudy-to-partly cloudy conditions characterized the weather pattern during the reporting period. Daytime temperatures were in the upper 50s and 60s. Overnight lows were in the 30s and 40s. A storm system brought light showers to the region late week. Although less than 1 inch of rain was reported, the moisture hindered fieldwork and helped prolong on-going flood conditions. The National Weather Service river flood warning was downgraded to an advisory as the Mississippi River is still flowing near flood stage.

Grain terminals and other businesses along the river continue to be negatively impacted by the high water. Producers were booking seed and other inputs as planting season approaches; aerial applications of burndown herbicides were applied to a few fields.

According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Prospective Plantings Report, released March 29, cotton acreage in the North Delta is expected to increase by around 13 percent. The greatest increase is expected in Arkansas, with a 20 percent increase compared to last season; acreage in Missouri could increase by 17 percent, while Tennessee is slated to remain unchanged.

South Delta

Spot cotton trading was inactive. Supplies of available cotton were moderate. Demand was light. Average local spot prices were steady. Trading of CCC-loan equities was inactive.

No forward contracting was reported as merchants continued to clear remaining inventory. Producers monitored commodity markets and international trade developments as planting season approaches.

Winter-like conditions characterized the weather during the reporting period. A cold front brought somewhat lower temperatures to the region. Daytime temperatures were in the 50s to 60s. Overnight lows were in the 30s and 40s. Less than 1 inch of rain was reported in most areas, but rain showers were in the extended forecast. The National Weather Service river flood warning remains in effect as the Mississippi River at Greenville, MS continues to flow about 3 feet above flood stage; most tributaries in Mississippi and Louisiana were also overflowing their banks.

Saturated soils and flood conditions hindered outdoor activities, but some fieldwork was completed on higher ground, and on fields with light-textured soils. Aerial applications of burndown herbicides were applied to a few fields.

According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Prospective Plantings Report, released March 29, cotton acreage in the South Delta is expected to increase. The greatest increase is expected in Arkansas, with a 33 percent increase compared to last season; acreage in Mississippi could increase by 10 percent.

Trading

North Delta

  • No trading activity was reported.

South Delta

  • No trading activity was reported.

Southwestern Markets Regional Summary

East Texas

Spot cotton trading was active. Supplies and producer offerings were moderate. Demand was moderate. Average local spot prices were firm. Producer interest in forward contracting was light. Trading of CCC-loan equities was active. Foreign inquiries were moderate. Inquiries were best from India, Pakistan, and Taiwan.

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Planting drew to an end in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV), as the final plant date expired on March 31, for Cameron, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Starr, Willacy, and Zapata counties. Stands emerged and some were at the 5 true leaf stage. A cold front on March 31 brought coolertemperatures, and from two-tenths up to two inches of rainfall in the RGV, south Texas, and the Coastal Bend.

Planting continued in south Texas and in the Coastal Bend in dry fields. Stands have emerged, but were not as mature as the stands in the RGV. In the Blackland Prairies, planting began during the reporting period.

In Kansas, cotton is forecasted at 170 thousand acres, up 3 percent from last year, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s (NASS) Prospective Plantings, released on March 29.

In Oklahoma, cotton is forecasted at 720 thousand acres, down 8 percent from last year, according to NASS. Ginning continued in Kansas and in Oklahoma. Industry members participated in the 112th Annual Cotton Trade Show on April 4-5, and the 62nd Annual Meeting of the Plains Cotton Growers on April 5.

Many annual events occurred that included the Texas Agrilife Cotton Marketing Workshop, and the Southwest Ginners School co-sponsored by USDA-ARS, the National Cotton Ginners’ Association, the National Cotton Council, and Cotton Incorporated.

West Texas

Spot cotton trading was moderate. Supplies and producer offerings were moderate. Demand was moderate. Producers monitored the market closely to determine marketing strategies for the remainder of the crop. Average local spot prices were firm. Producer interest in forward contracting was light. Trading of CCC-loan equities was active. Foreign inquiries were moderate. Inquiries were best from India, Pakistan, and Taiwan.

Daytime high temperatures were in the low 60s to mid-80s, and overnight lows were in the low 30s to low 50s. Fieldwork progressed around variable conditions including fog, intermittent light rainfall, and wind. All of Texas cotton is forecasted at 7.30 million acres, down 6 percent from last year, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Prospective Plantings, released on March 29.

The Texas cotton industry was busy hosting and attending numerous meetings and events that were held in conjunction with the 112th Annual Cotton Trade Show presented by the Texas Cotton Ginners Association, and the 62nd Annual Meeting of the Plains Cotton Growers. Congratulations to the students at the Southwest Gin School for successfully completing the courses and ginner certification.

Texas FFA high school students have begun practicing for the state cotton judging contest at the Lamesa and Lubbock Classing Offices.

Trading

East Texas

  • In Texas, a mixed lot containing a light volume of color 52 and 53, leaf 4 and 5, staple 36, mike averaging 48.5, strength averaging 28.7, and uniformity averaging 78.1 sold for around 73.00 cents per pound, FOB warehouse (compression charges not paid).
  • In Oklahoma, a light volume of mostly color 31 and 32, leaf 3 and 4, staple 36, mike averaging 44.8, strength averaging 29.6, and uniformity 80-82 sold for around 73.00 cents, FOB car/truck (compression charges not paid).
  • In Kansas, a heavy volume of mostly color 31, leaf 3, staple 36, mike 35-49, strength averaging 30.0, and uniformity 79-82 sold for around 77.50 cents, same terms as above.
  • A heavy volume of CCC-loan equities traded for 2.00 to 14.50 cents.

West Texas

  • A heavy volume of color 41, leaf 2-4, staple 35, mike 35-49, strength 26-34, and uniformity 78-82 sold for around 71.25 cents per pound, FOB car/truck (compression charges not paid).
  • A heavy volume of mostly color 32 and better, leaf 3 and 4, staple 36 and longer, mike 30-51, strength 26-36, uniformity 76-83, and 25 percent extraneous matter sold for around 68.25 cents, same terms as above.
  • A mixed lot containing a moderate volume of mostly color 41, leaf 6 and better, staple 36 and 37, mike 40-45, strength 28-32, and uniformity 80-83 sold for around 65.00 cents, same terms as above.
  • A heavy volume of CCC-loan equities traded for 7.00 to 17.25 cents.

Western Markets Regional Summary

Desert Southwest (DSW)

Spot cotton trading was slow. Supplies and demand were moderate. Average local spot prices were firm. No forward contracting or domestic mill activity was reported. Foreign mill inquiries were light. The on-going trade/tariff dispute between the US and China continues to slow inquiries and sales.

Daytime temperatures in the low to mid-80s increased planting activities and promoted cotton growth throughout Arizona. No rainfall was recorded in the period. Ginning was completed. Some re-planting was done in Yuma. The crop made good progress. Initial planting began in central Arizona.

San Joaquin Valley (SJV)

Spot cotton trading was inactive. Supplies and demand were light. Average local spot prices were firm. No forward contracting or domestic mill activity was reported. Foreign mill inquiries were light.

Valley weather had a little bit of everything this week, from sunshine, to rain, strong winds, and hail. Unseasonable warm conditions brought temperatures into the high 70s mid-week. Precipitation totals measured around one-tenth of an inch to one-quarter of an inch. Snowfall was reported in higher elevations.

The California Department of Water Resources reported the snowpack is at 161 percent of the April 1 average. Many California reservoirs were reported at above-average capacity. More rain is in the near-term forecast. Planting was active in the Valley. Some producers will wait until the latest spring storm passes through to begin planting.

American Pima (AP)

Spot cotton trading was inactive. Supplies were moderate. Demand was light. Average local spot prices were steady. No forward contracting or domestic mill activity was reported. Foreign mill inquiries were light. The on-going trade/tariff dispute between the US and China continues to slow inquiries and sales.

Temperatures were in the 70s to 80s in the Far West. Planting was active in Arizona and California. The crop made good progress in Yuma, AZ. New Mexico and El Paso, TX producers prepared fields for planting.

Trading

Desert Southwest

  • A moderate volume of Arizona cotton color 21 and 31, leaf 2 and better, staple 35 and longer sold for around 150 points off ICE May futures, uncompressed, FOB warehouse.
  • A moderate volume of color mostly 31 and 41, leaf 3 and better, staple 36 and longer sold for around 74.75 cents per pound, same terms as above.

San Joaquin Valley

  • No trading activity was reported.

American Pima

  • No trading activity was reported.

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