* NCC survey shows 7.5 pct drop in est cotton plantings
NEW YORK, Feb 12 (Reuters) – U.S. cotton futures ended Monday stronger, pulled up by other commodities, global equities and the euro, as investors raised their risk profiles after the Greek parliament voted to adopt austerity measures to handle the country’s debt crisis.
Two separate cotton planting estimates released on Saturday and Monday contributed to price gains, but analysts said both were regarded more as a starting reference for the fiber’s crop season than a substantive indication of eventual output.
As such, most cotton observers took note, but did not necessarily take positions based on either report.
“The NCC report was a helpful number and was behind the rally to some degree, but I think the Greek parliament voting on the austerity plan was really what pushed commodities up across the board,” said Sharon Johnson, senior cotton analyst at Penson Futures in Atlanta.
Benchmark March cotton on ICE Futures U.S. finished with 0.91 cent, or 1.0 percent, gains at 91.54 cents per lb, after trading between 90.62 to 93.05 cents a lb.
Following the Greek vote overnight, cotton prices shot up by more than 2 percent, analysts said.
Most commodities, along with the euro and world equity markets rose after Greece’s parliament passed drastic austerity measures to avoid a messy debt default.
The Greek package of wage, pension and job cuts passed on Sunday, boosting hopes Athens would secure more rescue funds ahead of a March bond redemption.
While cotton market participants likely reviewed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s planting projections released on Monday, Johnson said they are a baseline, not an actual survey.
USDA estimated U.S. cotton growers will plant 12.0 million acres (4.9 million hectares) of upland cotton this year and harvest 16.2 million bales. Its outlook was based on late 2011 conditions and will be updated at its annual Outlook Forum on Feb 23-24.
USDA also estimated plantings of the eight major U.S. field crops will climb this year. [ID: nWNA0044]
Analysts said, however, that more than a comparison of crop acreage as a determinant of price, the estimates were intended to give Congress an idea of costs when drafting a farm bill.
Industry group The National Cotton Council’s figures, issued on Saturday, provide the first indication of producers’ planting intentions for 2012, but analysts said weather will ultimately play a huge role in how close its annual estimate ends up being.
NCC forecast U.S. 2012 cotton plantings would reach 13.63 million acres, down 7.5 percent from 2011.
“The NCC number is a good starting point, but we don’t know how many producers participated in the survey. They’ll tell you their response rate, but they never tell you how many,” said Johnson, calling the report a “guesstimate.”
She noted that weather is one of the three major components of price and, as such, planted acres do not necessarily translate into bales.
A Thomson Reuters survey in January showed American farmers are expected to cut 2012 cotton plantings by some 10 percent to nearly 12 percent to around 13.002 million to 13.242 million hectares.
Open interest in cotton , an indicator of investor exposure in the market, fell by 7,070 lots to 186,238 lots as of Feb. 10, ICE Futures U.S. data showed.
On Friday, volume fell to 31,064 lots from 56,241 lots traded on Thursday, exchange data showed. (Reporting by Carole Vaporean; Editing by Marguerita Choy)