* Spec profit-taking knocks fiber contracts lower
* Trade awaits possible Chinese import quota news
NEW YORK, April 27 (Reuters) – Cotton futures finished lower Friday on speculative profit-taking as players lightened up on positions before the end of the month and awaited leads from top consumer China, analysts said.
July cotton on the ICE Futures U.S. exchange dropped 0.88 cent, or nearly 1 percent, to close at 91.23 cents per lb, trading from 90.79 to 92.42 cents. The range was similar to Thursday’s 90.70 to 92.34 band.
For the week, the second-position cotton contract gained 0.24 percent.
New-crop December fell 1.13 cents, or 1.2 percent, to finish at 87.90 cents after ranging from 87.68 to 89.34 cents.
Independent analyst Mike Stevens in Louisiana said cotton seemed to be stalling out at the end of the week, adding that the trade awaited leads from a possible Chinese announcement on its cotton import quotas.
Activity appeared confined to the trading of the spread, which is the difference between old-crop July cotton and the new-crop December cotton contract, dealers said.
Benchmark July continued to trade in a band between 87 and 94 cents, a range the most-active contract has maintained since the start of March, Thomson Reuters data showed.
The market will be turning its attention to the U.S. Agriculture Department’s monthly supply/demand report to be released after next week.
The data will show the first estimate of market conditions in the coming 2012/13 marketing season (August/July).
Friday’s estimated volume was slightly over 11,000 lots, more than 50 percent beneath the 30-day norm, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Open interest rose for the first time in five sessions to stand at 183,200 lots as of April 26, ICE Futures U.S. exchange data showed.
(Reporting by Rene Pastor; Editing by John Picinich)