Cotton Reverses Course to End Higher

By Julie Wernau Features Dow Jones Newswires

Cotton prices reversed course to end higher with traders unsure about how to account for damage to crops.

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Cotton for December ended up 0.3%, at 68.46 cents a pound, on the ICE Futures U.S. exchange, reversing course after touching a one-month low in earlier trade.

"With the tropics finally calming down and crops getting closer to the finish line, the weather premium is starting to fade away," Plexus Cotton said in a note. The firm said that given flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Texas, the largest cotton producer, the market is still sussing out what quality issues will arise in this year's cotton harvest, preventing the market from sustaining further losses despite bearish production forecasts.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture raised its estimate for U.S. cotton production by 1.2 million bales, to 21.76 million bales, this month, or 27% higher year-on-year, but hasn't yet taken into account the impact of recent hurricanes.

The agency said in its weekly progress report that 44% of cotton was in good condition, as of the week ended Sept. 17, and 17% in excellent condition, versus 46% in good condition and 17% in excellent condition the previous week--with about 11% of cotton harvested.

"There will probably be some quality losses from the previous storms, and USDA did show deteriorating quality on Monday night," said Jack Scoville at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

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In other markets, raw sugar for March lost 0.6%, to end at 14.64 cents a pound; cocoa for December lost 1.9%, to end at $1,983 a ton; arabica coffee for December fell 0.4%, to end at $1.3445 a pound; and frozen concentrated orange juice for November shed 3.6%, to end at $1.468 a pound.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 22, 2017 17:10 ET (21:10 GMT)