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ICE cotton futures fell more than 1% on Wednesday as a recent surge in prices prompted investors to book profits, with markets awaiting more details after the United States and China signed a long-awaited Phase 1 trade deal.
Cotton contracts for March fell 1.22 cent, or 1.71%, at 70.16 cents per lb by 02:20 p.m. EST (1905 GMT). It traded within a range of 70.1 and 71.38 cents per lb.
"The market had a strong lead up to the announcement to the actual signing of the deal today, so lot of it was already baked in," said Keith Brown, principal at cotton brokers Keith Brown and Co in Moultrie, Georgia. * "China is going to buy $50 billion of agriculture goods but there is no breakdown. The market is signalling a little bit of disappointment about the fact there is no specific breakdown."
The United States and China announced an initial trade deal defusing an 18-month conflict between the world's two largest economies.
The interim Phase 1 trade deal will cancel and cut some tariffs, but will leave in place around $250 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese goods. "The specs are pretty long and they may have being taking profits," said Rogers Varner, president of Varner Brokerage in Cleveland, Mississippi.
ICE cotton speculators increased net long positions by 1,896 contracts to 8,115 in the week to Jan. 7, data from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed. Investors' focus will shift to the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) weekly export sales report scheduled for release on Thursday.
Last week, the USDA's weekly export sales report showed net sales of 152,000 running bales (RB) for the 2019/20 marketing year for the period ended Jan. 2. Total futures market volume fell by 3,977 to 30,760 lots. Data showed total open interest gained 2,669 to 250,399 contracts in the previous session. Certificated cotton stocks deliverable as of Jan. 14 totaled 6,824 480-lb bales, unchanged from 6,824 in the previous session.

Current Session Prior Day
Open High Low Last Time Set Chg Vol Set
Mar'20 771.38 71.38 70.10 70.26 13:15 - -1.12 19134 71.38
Jan 15
May'20 72.46 72.46 71.18 71.34 13:15 - -1.12 6972 72.46
Jan 15
Jul'20 73.39 73.39 72.12 72.23 13:15 - -1.13 2755 73.36
Jan 15

Copyright Reuters, 2020