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NEW YORK: Cotton prices rose to the highest in two-and-a-half years on Thursday, supported by a weaker US dollar and strong demand for the natural fibre, while investors awaited federal exports sales numbers. The cotton contract for March was up 0.12 cent, or 0.1%, at 88.48 cents per lb by 13:11 p.m. EST, after hitting its highest since August 2018 at 89.23 cents during the session.

“We still continue to see robust demand for cotton,” said Keith Brown, principal at cotton brokers Keith Brown and Co in Georgia.

Investors now await the weekly export sales report from the US Department of Agriculture on Friday, delayed by a day due to the Presidents Day holiday in the United States on Monday.

“Fuel prices have rallied which is positive. The huge winter storm has gripped Texas and much of the cotton belt, it’s nearly logistically impossible to load cotton on to a truck and ship anywhere in Texas,” Brown said.

The cold snap, which has killed at least 21 people and knocked out power to more than 4 million people in Texas, has impacted at least 19% of US refining capacity and lifted oil prices to a 13-month high.

Total futures market volume fell by 13,337 to 25,029 lots.

Certificated cotton stocks deliverable as of FEB.17 totalled 100,326 480-lb bales, unchanged from 100,326 in the previous session.