Cotton Ends Flat, Stemming Losses

By Julie Wernau Features Dow Jones Newswires

Cotton futures pared losses Thursday as sales of cotton overseas slowed, ending flat.

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Cotton for December ended at 69.12 cents a pound on the ICE Futures U.S. exchange, following three straight sessions of losses.

Net sales of U.S. upland cotton, the most common variety, reached 65,200 bales for the 2017/2018 marketing year for the week ending Sept. 7, compared with 136.4 million bales during the same week last year and 116,109 bales the week prior.

The U.S. is 48% committed and 7% shipped against the U.S. Department of Agriculture's most recent export target for the 2017/2018 marketing year.

Futures sold off this week when this month's USDA update on world agriculture supply and demand for cotton featured a significant upward revision to the U.S. production forecast.

Year-on-year, the crop is now expected to be a full 27% higher, and the agency surprised analysts who had expected the consequences of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, the largest growing state, to push down production projections.

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The USDA said the consequences of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma would only be taken into account once better information is available.

Hurricane Harvey struck Texas on Aug. 25, wreaking havoc on the crop in the nation's largest cotton-producing state, with some harvested cotton scattered across fields from wind and other cotton left to soak on flooded land.

The USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service said in a note that the report didn't reflect the significant effect caused by recent hurricanes and the subsequent flooding. For upland cotton, the agency will collect harvest-acreage information from producers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina and Texas to "better assess the full impact."

Reports from Texas indicate that between 200,000 and 600,000 bales of cotton were destroyed in Hurricane Harvey, says Price Futures Group in Chicago.

In other markets, raw sugar for October ended down 0.4% at 14.27 cents a pound; cocoa for December lost 0.9% at $1,973 a ton; arabica coffee for December lost 0.2% at $1.3765 a pound; and frozen concentrated orange juice for November ended down 3.1% at $1.508 a pound.

Write to Julie Wernau at julie.wernau@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 14, 2017 16:12 ET (20:12 GMT)