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NEW YORK: ICE cotton futures rose over 1% on Thursday to more than a two-year high on the back of a weaker dollar and a rally in global equities, while investors were looking forward to the US weekly export sales report.

The cotton contract for March was up 1.00 cent, or 1.2%, to 82.59 cents per lb at 1:21 p.m. EST (1821 GMT), having touched its highest level since September 2018 at 83.06 cents. It traded within a range of 81.40 and 83.06 cents a lb.

“The dollar is down a little bit, soy beans and corn are up, the stock markets are up a little bit, so cotton is following some other markets. There are expectations for really good sales (report) tomorrow,” said Rogers Varner, president of Varner Brokerage in Cleveland.

The weekly export sales report from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is due on Friday.

World stock markets racked up record highs, while the dollar fell to a one-week low on bets for massive stimulus from US President Joe Biden’s administration.

A weaker dollar makes greenback-denominated cotton cheaper for investors holding other currencies.

Chicago soybeans snapped a three-session losing streak on Thursday, while corn prices firmed. “There are huge expectations for a consumer boom once the COVID restrictions are taken off, and a lot of markets, especially cotton, are trying to price in robust demand for 2021,” Varner added. Total futures market volume fell by 7,554 to 28,013 lots. Certificated cotton stocks deliverable as of Jan. 20 totaled 70,649 480-lb bales, unchanged from the previous session.

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