Cotton Advances to Three-Week High


Cotton rose to a three-week high on speculation that demand will climb for exports from the U.S., the world’s top shipper, as India maintains a partial ban on sales. Orange juice slid.

India, the second-biggest grower, halted exports of the fiber this month to secure domestic supplies. While the measure was partially lifted, registration for additional cargoes won’t be allowed until further notice. In the week ended March 15, U.S. shipments were 297,122 running bales, led by purchases from China, the top user. That was “well above” the pace needed to reach the government’s export projection of 11 million bales for the season ending July 31, INTL FCStone Inc. said on March 22.

“Good U.S. cotton sales are the main supportive factor in the market,” analysts at Rabobank International, including Luke Chandler, said in a report. This is “likely a result of buyers switching from India supplies after the export ban,” according to the bank.

Cotton for May delivery climbed 1.8 percent to settle at 92.59 cents a pound at 2:41 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. Earlier, the price reached 93.18 cents, the highest for a most-active contract since March 6. This quarter, the price has climbed 0.9 percent, heading for the first gain in a year.

Global inventories as of July 31, 2013, will climb 11 percent from a year earlier, the International Cotton Advisory Committee said on March 1. The surplus is equivalent to 60 percent of global mill use, the largest stocks-to-use ratio since the late 1990s, the Washington-based group said.

Increasing stockpiles and “slowing Chinese buying and sluggish demand in the second quarter are expected to weigh on markets,” Rabobank said. A probable rebound in U.S. output, which slumped last year after the worst drought in at least a century in Texas, the top producing state, is also “bearish” for prices, the bank said.

A running bale weighs 500 pounds, or 227 kilograms. The projection of 11 million is in statistical bales, which weigh 480 pounds each.