Australia’s Cotton Harvest Expected to Fall 50% on Drought

By CommoditiesFOXBusiness

Corn and wheat are front and center as we head into the fall harvest season. Both crops continue to look good, as global harvests remain on track to hit record territory this year.

The International Grains Council in June predicted the healthy harvests will boost global stockpiles this year to a 15-year high. But futures in both crops have traded off their lows over the past two weeks on forecasts for higher demand for U.S. grain, due to a damaged crop in France. Still, corn has fallen a staggering 58% over the past 2 years.

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“With corn prices down 30% in 3 months, sentiment has collapsed to bearish levels rarely seen in the past,” said J.C. Parets, founder and president of Eagle Bay Capital. “Last time we were at bearish levels like this corn rallied 25% in a few months. As a money manager who looks for the most favorable risk/reward opportunities, this is right up my alley."

Also trading at recent lows are Brent and WTI crude futures. Brent is nearing its lowest level in nine months on the expectation of robust supplies, while WTI is nearing a 6-month low. However, consumers shouldn’t expect gas prices to fall too much, as WTI is only down about 6% this past year.

“Inventories are well above the 10-year average, going back to 1984,” Lannie Cohen, president of Capitol Commodity Services, said. “Support is at 9700, which was slightly breached today, so it should be monitored closely. Geopolitical tensions should keep declines limited.”

Bank of America Merrill Lynch recently made an upward revision to its forecasts for Brent on projections for tighter supplies.

“We now project reduced OPEC and non-OPEC oil supply growth over the next 18 months,” the report said. “We modestly revise our average Brent price expectations for 2014 and 2015 from $106 to $110 and from $103 to $108/bbl, respectively…we modestly revise up our 2H14 and 2015 average WTI crude oil forecast to $98/bbl and $96/bbl, respectively.” As for cotton, the bears are clearly in charge despite the fact that production in Australia, the world’s 3rd largest exporter, is expected to drop as much as 50% due to a drought. Cotton futures are now down more than 27% over the past year even though Australia's harvest is expected to be the smallest since the 2009-2010 season. That's because output in the U.S., the largest exporter, is set to climb and add to record global reserves. The fiber was trading at 64.15 cents at 11:17 a.m. in New York.

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