Cotton futures rose to the highest in more than a week in choppy trading on Thursday, briefly piercing the key psychological 60-cent mark on short covering and as investors started to roll their positions forward ahead of the March contract expiry.
Some traders said prices were also aided by higher crude oil and US equities, although those gains were tempered when the markets lost upward steam following bearish data.
“Cotton is preparing itself for next week’s delivery, so you had March shoot up compared to May, and now it’s correcting itself,” said Keith Brown, a Moultrie, Georgia-based cotton broker.
Traders were awaiting weekly export data on Friday morning, delayed from Thursday due to the US holiday earlier in the week, for signs of how robust mill demand was during the recent sell-off.
The most-active May cotton contract on ICE Futures US settled up 0.15 cent, or 0.25 percent, at 59.7 cents per lb, after hitting 60.40 cents a lb, the highest price since February 9.
Certificated cotton stocks deliverable as of Wednesday totalled 59,658 480-lb bales, up from 50,283 in the previous session even as the front-month price remained at a premium to May.
The Thomson Reuters CoreCommodity CRB Index, which tracks 19 commodities, was down 0.43 percent. Data showed total open interest gained 3,144 to 191,821 contracts in the previous session.