NEW YORK: Cotton futures ended easier on Thursday on investor sales although the market traded in a band as players waited for leads while keeping an eye on the protracted euro zone debt crisis, dealers said.
The key December cotton contract on ICE Futures US slipped 0.22 cent to finish at 98.12 cents per lb, moving from 97.30 to 99.44 cents.
Total volume traded Thursday hit over 20,700 lots, over one-third above the 30-day norm, preliminary Thomson Reuters data and ICE Futures US data showed.
Last Friday, the December contract ended at $1.0437 in the highest settlement close for spot cotton in six weeks.
“It’s been a slow grind,” said Jobe Moss, an analyst for brokers and merchants MCM Inc. in Lubbock, Texas.
Mike Stevens, an independent analyst in Mandeville, Louisiana, said the market saw some rolling by long index funds moving positions out of December and into the back months.
Traders said the weekly US Agriculture Department export sales report was not particularly impressive. USDA said total net upland cotton sales hit 92,000 running bales (RBs, 500-lbs each).
Technically, dealers said the December contract may soon take aim at the recent low of 96 cents hit last week and possibly go toward 93 or even 90 cents further afield.
“I still think we’re going below 90 cents,” Moss said, adding a probe of the recent low around 80 to 85 cents seems likely.
Open interest in cotton, usually taken as an indicator of investor exposure in cotton, stood at 164,944 lots as of Nov. 2, its highest level since April 20, exchange data showed.
Total volume traded Wednesday in the cotton market reached 27,453 lots, from the previous tally of 37,442 lots, ICE futures US data reported.