NEW YORK: Cotton futures finished marginally lower on Wednesday on sales by small speculators in a session featuring largely spread trade as players kept a cautious eye on euro zone debt problems, analysts said.
The key December cotton contract on ICE Futures US lost 0.46 cent to end at 99.72 cents per lb, trading from 99.60 cents to $1.0142. The market has traded in a band from 98 cents to $1.04 for nearly four weeks.
Total volume traded Wednesday hit over 16,800 lots, more than a third above the 30-day norm, preliminary Thomson Reuters data showed.
The December contract got down to just under Monday’s low at 99.61 cents where it held and then gradually worked its way back toward the psychological $1 a lb level.
“The market just doesn’t want” to stay away from $1 at this point,” said Jobe Moss, an analyst for brokers and merchants MCM Inc in Lubbock, Texas.
But he said the ability of the December contract to bounce back when it falls below $1 seems to be weakening and that meant the contract’s price would eventually drop below $1 for good.
Moss said the main problem facing cotton futures is weak demand caused in part by uncertainty over global economies amid attempts by European leaders to resolve the debt crisis there.
The trade will now be looking toward the US Agriculture Department’s weekly export sales report on Thursday to gauge the level of US cotton export demand.
Open interest in cotton, usually taken as an indicator of investor exposure in cotton, stood at 151,550 lots as of Oct. 18, from 151,791 lots on Oct 14, the exchange said.
Total volume traded Tuesday in the cotton market reached 10,992 lots, against the prior tally of 21,492 lots, ICE futuresUS data showed.