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NEW YORK: ICE cotton futures extended gains for a 10th straight session on Wednesday, supported by overall strong demand and a broader weakness in the US dollar as focus turned to a federal export sales report.

The cotton contract for March was up 0.15 cent, or 0.2%, at 80.50 cents per lb by 01:11 p.m. EST (1811 GMT).

The contract touched its highest level since December 2018 at 80.93 cents earlier in the session.

“The US dollar (is) in a steep decline. We have exports sales data coming out tomorrow and the market is anticipating maybe another good number there,” said Keith Brown, principal at cotton brokers Keith Brown and Co in Georgia.

The dollar index slid to its lowest level in more than 2-1/2 years against its rivals. A weaker greenback makes cotton less expensive for buyers of the natural fibre in other currencies.

Investors now await the weekly export sales report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) due on Thursday.

Last week, USDA’s weekly export sales report showed net sales of 287,900 running bales for 2020/2021, down 30% from the previous week and 24% from the prior four-week average.

Sentiment in the wider financial markets remained upbeat, with the Dow and the S&P 500 notching record highs on bets that a Democratic sweep in Georgia would lead to more fiscal stimulus and infrastructure spending.

Total futures market volume fell by 12,719 to 22,403 lots.

Certificated cotton stocks deliverable as of Jan. 4 totalled 70,847 480-lb bales, unchanged from 70,847 in the previous session.