Cotton Falls Most in Six Weeks on Europe; Orange Juice Declines


Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) — Cotton futures fell the most in six weeks on renewed concern that the Europe Union’s failure to resolve its debt crisis will slow global economic growth, eroding demand for commodities. Orange juice also slid.

Equities dropped and the dollar rose against the euro as European leaders sparred with Greece over a second rescue program, threatening progress toward a permanent aid fund and tougher budget rules designed to bolster the single currency. Buyers from China, the world’s top consumer of the fiber, were away last week for the Lunar New Year. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials fell as much as 1.1 percent.

“Europe as well as the dollar” pushed cotton down, Derrick Lewis, a trader with ClearTrade Commodities in Chicago, said in an telephone interview.

Cotton futures for March delivery sank 1.5 percent to settle at 94.15 cents a pound at 2:33 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, the biggest drop since Dec. 14. The price has risen 2.6 percent this month, after tumbling 37 percent in 2011.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture next week will update its forecast for domestic cotton demand and supply. On Jan. 12, the agency reduced for the third month in a row its estimate for U.S. cotton production.

Reduced plantings may boost prices in the months ahead as last year’s slump will encourage farmers to plant other crops, such as corn, which offers better returns, Sid Love, the president of Joe Kropf & Sid Love Consulting Services and Overland Park, Kansas, said in a telephone interview.

Orange-juice futures for March delivery retreated 0.5 percent to close at $2.098 a pound on ICE. The price has jumped 40 percent since the end of September. On Jan. 23, it touched a record $2.2695 a pound.