NEW YORK: ICE cotton futures slumped more than 3% on Thursday as a US government report showed a sharp slide in weekly export sales, putting prices of the natural fibre on course for their third straight weekly decline.
Cotton contracts for May fell 2.95 cent, or 3.7%, to 77.93 cents per lb by 12:33 P.M. EDT. It traded within a range of 77.78 and 81.52 cents a lb.
The contract was down 3% so far this week.
“Today’s low number certainly affected the psyche of the market. Sales were terrible... (And) we are running way below the pace of what we have been doing,” said Keith Brown, principal at cotton brokers Keith Brown and Co in Georgia.
The US Department of Agriculture’s weekly export sales report showed that net sales of 78,400 running bales (RB) for 2020/2021 were down 71% from the previous week, while exports of 324,700 RB were up 4%.
“China cancelled about 24,000 bales and shifted 13,000 or so to Vietnam,” Brown said.
The United States is the biggest producer of the natural fibre, while China is the largest consumer.
The report showed that sales to China were at 13,500 RB, including decreases of 24,200 RB, while sales to Vietnam were at 97,300 RB, which included a switch of 13,600 RB from the top consumer.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s cabinet on Thursday put off allowing imports of cotton and sugar from neighbouring India until Delhi reviews its 2019 move to revoke the Kashmir region’s special status, the foreign minister said.
The cotton markets will be closed on April 2 for the Good Friday holiday.
Total futures market volume fell by 13,544 to 30,083 lots. Data showed total open interest gained 618 to 228,646 contracts in the previous session.—Reuters