Cotton Rises as Rain Delays U.S. Harvest

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Cotton prices rose Tuesday on ideas that rain could further damage crops in U.S. growing regions.

Cotton for March delivery rose 0.9% to 63.20 cents a pound, on track for its largest rise since Oct. 30.

In the U.S., the cotton harvest is running behind schedule, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As of Nov. 15, the U.S. crop was 64% harvested versus 74% on average.

Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia are the most behind as heavy rains disrupted harvests there. More rain is on the way later this week, WeatherBELL Analytics said in a note.

“It is likely that more crops in these areas will be damaged,” Jack Scoville, vice president of Price Futures Group said in a note. “Production in the Carolinas already took a hit from the big rains seen over the summer.”

Traders are weighing lower production against a world teeming with cotton stockpiles.

The contract has had a difficult time breaking out of a tight trading range this year as cotton continues to lose market share to cheaper synthetic fibers and China, the world’s largest cotton consumer, attempts to unwind from its large cotton stores.

In other markets, raw sugar for March dropped 3% to 14.72 cents a pound, frozen concentrated orange juice futures for January fell 2.4% to $1.499 a pound, cocoa for March rose 0.1% to $3,379 a ton and arabica coffee futures for March were up 0.7% at $1.19 a pound.

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