* Trade eyes USDA plantings data on Friday
NEW YORK, June 26 (Reuters) – Cotton futures settled lower Tuesday on speculative sales as the shaky outlook for global economies pressured fiber contracts and brokers said such fundamentals would keep the market in a bear hug.
Benchmark December cotton on ICE Futures U.S. fell 1.85 cents or 2.6 percent to finish at 68.20 cents per lb, moving from 68.04 to 70.30 cents.
The spot July cotton contract dropped 2.15 cents to close at 68.31 cents per lb.
Volume traded Tuesday stood above 13,700 lots, more than 40 percent under the 30-day norm, Thomson Reuters data showed.
“The main factor is the macro economic situation,” said Mike Stevens, a long-time cotton dealer in Mandeville, Louisiana.
Plentiful supplies and weak fiber demand will keep cotton futures weak and make it difficult to sustain any advance in prices, he added.
December cotton seemed trapped between 67 and 73 cents. “We stalled out over 70 cents,” said Stevens. “It’s waiting for some sort of a signal.”
Brokers said the market awaited a pair of government reports. The first one on Thursday is the U.S. Agriculture Department’s weekly export sales report, which would gauge cotton market conditions in the world.
The second is the annual USDA plantings data on Friday which will set the stage for how much will be planted in the coming 2012/13 marketing year (August/July).
Tuesday’s volume amounted to 35,850 lots, down from 42,145 lots in the previous session, ICE Futures U.S. data showed.
Open interest in the cotton market, an indicator of investor exposure, rose for the first time in seven sessions to hit 166,768 lots as of June 25, exchange data showed.
(Reporting by Rene Pastor; Editing by John Picinich)