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ICE Cotton Ends With Double Digit Loss As Coronavirus Tensions Weigh

15 Feb 2020 8:28 am
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Mumbai (Commodities Control) – Cotton futures fell to a one-week low on Friday as investors tried to gauge the coronavirus epidemic's impact on China's economy, with cases continuing to mount.

Cotton futures posted 23 to 34 point losses by Friday’s close. Cotton contracts for March settled down 34 points at 67.41 cents per lb, having earlier hit 67.21, their lowest since Feb. 7. Prices were down about 0.5% for the week. May Cotton closed at 68.41, down 22 points. July Cotton ended at 69.28, down 22 points. October Cotton closed at 69.36, down 23 points.

"Local demand is little softer due to the headlines on the coronavirus," said Rogers Varner, president of Varner Brokerage in Cleveland, Mississippi, adding there was also some uncertainty over agricultural purchases under the Phase 1 U.S.-China trade deal.

Beijing on Friday imposed a 14-day self-quarantine on people returning to the city from holidays to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, while 5,090 new cases were reported in mainland China.

The Chinese economy will grow at its slowest rate since the financial crisis in the current quarter, according to a poll of economists, who said the slowdown would be short-lived if the outbreak is contained.

The United States is the biggest exporter of the natural fiber, while China is the biggest consumer.

Cotton futures had climbed to a more than eight-month high of 71.96 cents per lb on Jan. 13, bolstered by optimism around the Phase 1 trade deal, which is due to go into effect 30 days after its Jan. 15 signing.

"We could go back to 66.75 cents per lb fairly easily ... Prices are not going up until we have a reason for the specs to buy," said Jim Nunn, owner of Tennessee cotton brokerage Nunn Cotton.

"Prices got to the 50-day moving average and stalled and then we had the coronavirus news and the market goes right back down."

In U.S., Commerce Department reported the worst apparel sales in 10 years. The apparel industry is already facing a tough start to 2020. One retail think-tank is suggesting the ill-buying patterns are the result of the U.S. consumer clearly not prioritizing their buying of their goods and products, and not the result of an economic malaise or a lack of spending power.

However, the fact the nation is facing the second warmest winter in 29 years, consumers are buying fewer winter clothes to stock their closets. Thus, receipts at domestic clothing stores fell some 3.1% last month, the most since March 2009.

Meanwhile on Saturday, the NCC will likely report the results of its membership survey for 2020 acres. Already, the trade has seen a double-digit lower intentions number via a survey published by Cotton Grown Magazine in January, So, against that backdrop, plus the current wretched price for new crop cotton, expectations are for reduced acres as well.

Total futures market volume fell by 21,081 to 39,696 lots. Data showed total open interest fell 2,842 to 217,468 contracts in the previous session.

Certificated cotton stocks deliverable as of Feb. 13 totaled 32,152 480-lb bales, up from 32,066 in the previous session.

All U.S. financial and commodity markets will be closed on Monday. Moreover, the U.S. Government, the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Postal Service will be closed as well.

Support and Resistance for Cotton #2 lies at 67.64 cents and 69.28 cents/lb, respectively.

(Commodities Control Bureau)

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