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NEW YORK: ICE cotton futures extended losses for the second straight session on Wednesday as speculators liquidated positions ahead of the US Thanksgiving holiday amid harvest progress and favourable weather conditions.

The cotton contract for March was down 0.38 cent, or 0.5%, at 72.60 cents per lb by 11:36 a.m. EST (1636 GMT) after falling more than 1% in the previous session.

“Some of the speculators are liquidating long positions ahead of the holiday and month-end,” said Jack Scoville, vice president at Chicago-based Price Futures Group.

“The harvest is coming up well and the weather is also good, so there are not much factors to lift the cotton market higher at the movement.”

The weekly crop progress report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Monday showed 77% of US cotton was harvested, compared with 69% last week.

Earlier this month, the USDA in its monthly World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report raised its projections for 2020/21 US cotton production marginally to 17.1 million bales.

Sentiment in the wider financial markets remained subdued as a surprise rise in US weekly jobless claims added to signs the recovery of the labour market was stalling amid a surge in COVID-19 infections. Most US markets will be closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday. On Friday, the cotton market will open late at 8 a.m. EST (1300 GMT) and close early at 1:30 p.m. EST (1830 GMT).

Total futures market volume fell by 17,762 to 8,931 lots.

Certificated cotton stocks deliverable as of Nov. 24 totalled 121,109 480-lb bales, up from 119,220 in the previous session.—Reuters