QUOTE AND NEWS
Benzinga  Feb 4  Comment 
March NY Cotton is unchanged Wednesday morning after Tuesday's move higher. May Cotton is trading at 61.64, down 0.19. March Cotton is trading at 61.43, down 0.02. Trading is thin. Chatter about possibly better global economic conditions and...
Commodity Online  Feb 4  Comment 
CCI's cotton procurement target was 60 lakh bales and it expects to purchase over 75 lakh bales this year.
The Hindu Business Line  Feb 3  Comment 
The edible oils market continued to rule firm on Tuesday on the back of higher demand and bullish futures. On the Bombay Commodity Exchange, palmolein, soyabean, cotton and rapeseed refine...
Benzinga  Feb 3  Comment 
NY Cotton is trading higher in early trading Tuesday. March Cotton is up 0.31 at 60.20. May Cotton is trading at 60.56, up 0.29. Trading is firm. Chatter continues about U.S. plantings for the coming growing season and global economic...
Agrimoney.com  Feb 3  Comment 
The International Cotton Advisory Committee cuts its forecast for cotton prices this season - and says low values will deter plantings
Financial Times  Feb 3  Comment 
Government’s ending of cotton subsidy angers growers who fear it could threaten crop
Commodity Online  Feb 3  Comment 
In 2015/16, cotton is likely to be much less attractive to plant due to falling cotton prices have fallen while prices for competing crops such as maize and soy have recovered from price downturns last September and October.
The Hindu Business Line  Feb 2  Comment 
Cotton price ruled steady on expectation of fresh export demand. On the other side, kapas or raw cotton edged up on fresh ginning demand. Gujarat Sankar-6 cotton traded at ₹30,200-500 per c...
Benzinga  Feb 2  Comment 
NY Cotton Futures are down in early trading Monday morning. March NY Cotton is trading at 59.05, down 0.31. May Cotton is trading at 59.66, down 0.36. Market talk about less-than-stellar global economic growth remains. Trading is weak on Monday...
Commodity Online  Feb 2  Comment 
The move by CCI to release cotton from its stock should serve the purpose of stabilizing the cotton price, while the current market price in India is below what the CCI is selling since January 27th and its earlier procurement cost, this season




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Cotton is a basic crop that is a major input for the textile, agriculture, and food industries. 64 percent of cotton is used for apparel, 28 percent for home furnishings, and 8 percent for industrial products. In the US, $120 billion of business revenue is stimulated by cotton.[1]

The U.S. is a major cotton producer, but its domestic textile industry is relatively small, so it exports much of the cotton it produces. In 2007, 97 percent of US net domestic consumption of cotton was from imports, even though an estimated 27 percent of those cotton goods contained US cotton.[2]

Overall, China is the largest producer and consumer of cotton, accounting for 29 percent of the world's production and 43 percent of the world's use of milled cotton in 2007. China manufactures apparel and other textile products from the milled cotton, often for export.[3] Demand in this and other emerging markets is a leading driver of cotton prices, as are seasonal growing conditions and the prices of competing crops. Higher corn and soybean prices due to the production of biofuels makes those crops more attractive to growers, displacing cotton production and driving up prices. In 2008, US cotton acres are down 30 percent, to 11 million from 15 million in 2007.[3] Demand for cottonseed, a significant byproduct of cotton production used in the food industry and for animal feed, also influences cotton prices.

The chart at left shows continuos front-month futures prices for Cotton #2 traded on the New York Board of Trade.

Prices, Tickers, and Delivery Dates

Cotton #2 is traded on the New York Board of Trade under ticker symbol CT. Futures contracts are delivered in March, May, July, October, and December of every year. (For more information on commodity tickers, check out the commodity ticker construction page.)

Higher cotton prices help producers and funds

  • Cotton farmers benefit from higher prices. However, the prices of competing crops such as corn and soybean are also very attractive and have contributed to smaller cotton production. See Factors that drive cotton prices
  • Polyester is a synthetic fiber that becomes more attractive with higher cotton prices. Polyester fiber producers include Nan Ya Plastics Corp (TPE:1303), Sarla Performance Fibers Ltd (BOM:526885), and Wellman Inc (OTC:WMANQ).

Textile manufacturers hurt by prices

  • Clothing, footwear, and industrial textile manufacturers are hurt by rising cotton prices. For example, cotton is the primary raw material for Hanesbrands, representing 6% of cost of sales, and an increase of $0.01 per pound in cotton prices translates to a $3.3 million increase in annual raw material costs.[4] However, the effect of this on company earnings is uncertain because the effect of cotton prices on industry selling prices cannot be determined.
  • In the US, 27 textile mills closed in 2007 and industry employment fell by 51,000. While higher cotton prices are not helpful, the US plant closings are mostly due to increased competition from Chinese imports.[3]

Cotton supply and demand

Cotton prices have spiked significantly over the last 2 years, from 59.56 cents/pound in 2006 to a peak of 81.54 cents/pound in March of 2008.[5] The International Cotton Advisory Committee forecasted a season-average Cotlook A index of 79 cents per pound for 2008/09, which represents a 6 cent increase over the 2007/08 average. The price increase is due to a slight expected decline in worldwide production from 26.2 to 25.9 million tons due to competition from soybeans and grains.[2]

Global consumption is on track to exceed production in 2008/09, which would leave the world cotton stocks down by 6% to 11.3 million tons. Imports to the rapidly developing mainland China have steadily increased and is expected to drive a 5% increase in global imports in 2008/09, while imports by the rest of the world decrease.[2]

Factors that drive cotton prices

  • Grain prices: Higher grain prices make them more attractive to cotton farmers, which leads to a decrease in cotton production. U.S. farmers planted 10.54 million acres of cotton in 2007, a 30 percent decrease from the previous year. More growers planted more corn and soybeans at the expense of cotton, especially for the production of biofuels.[3]
  • Cottonseed prices: Cottonseed is a byproduct of cotton production and is used in agriculture for animal feed and in the food industry to make cottonseed oil. Cottonseed production decreased in 2007 to 6.60 million tons, from 7.35 million the previous year, which helped to drive both cottonseed and cotton prices up.[3]
  • Climate: Growing conditions vary from year to year and is a main driver for all crops, including cotton. In particular, droughts can have a devastating effect on crops and can lead to higher abandonment and prices. Nature is an unpredictable component of agriculture and the desire to smooth this risk is one of the reasons exchange traded funds exist.
  • Synthetic fabrics: Competing fibers such as polyester puts pressure on cotton demand. Many mills are shifting toward cotton/polyester blends, which are more durable and easier to maintain than pure cotton fabric. Polyester surpassed cotton as the most used fiber in 2003.[3]

Cotton Futures Contracts

References

  1. World of Cotton.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 International Cotton Prices Forecast Higher in 2008/09.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 The Economic Outlook for U.S. Cotton 2008.
  4. HBI 2007 Annual Report pg. 14  
  5. 5.0 5.1 National Cotton Council of America.
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