Cotton Futures Rise as China’s December Imports Surge; Orange Juice Gains

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Cotton futures jumped the most in four weeks after imports surged last month in China, the world’s biggest buyer. Orange juice also gained.

The China Cotton Association, citing customs data, said imports more than doubled to 462,000 metric tons from a year earlier. Prices have doubled in the past 12 months as global demand outpaced production.

“News from China triggered renewed buying interest,” said Mike Stevens, an independent trader in Mandeville, Louisiana. “Also, the fact that average import price continued to rise shows that demand is very strong.”

Cotton for March delivery rose by the exchange limit of 4 cents, or 2.8 percent, to settle at $1.4544 at 2:34 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. The percentage gain was the biggest since Dec. 21. The most-active contract fell 4.4 percent in the previous two sessions.

Flooding in Australia, the fourth-largest exporter, may cause crop losses of as much as 400,000 bales, the National Australia Bank Ltd. said last week.

In the year that started Aug. 1, the U.S. is forecast to be the leading exporter, followed by India and Uzbekistan, government data show. A bale weighs 480 pounds, or 218 kilograms.

Orange-juice futures for March delivery gained 2.35 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $1.754 a pound, the biggest gain since Jan. 6.

“Most commodities, including orange juice, rose today as the dollar traded weak,” said Sterling Smith, an analyst at Country Hedging Inc. in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The greenback dropped to the lowest since Nov. 22 against a basket of major currencies, enhancing the appeal of some raw materials as alternative investments.

(Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-18/cotton-futures-rise-as-china-s-december-imports-surge-orange-juice-gains.html)

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