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NEW YORK: ICE cotton futures gained on Wednesday on a softer dollar, as traders awaited a federal report expected to show higher weekly exports of the natural fibre.

Cotton contracts for May rose 1.04 cent, or 1.3% to 82.86 cents per lb by 12:38 pm EDT (1638 GMT). It traded within a range of 81.39 and 83.21 cents a lb.

The dollar eased against a basket of currencies, lowering the cost of dollar-denominated cotton for buyers holding other currencies.

Market participants await a weekly export sales report from the US Department of Agriculture due on Thursday.

“The (cotton) market is anticipating strong export sales tomorrow,” said Keith Brown, principal at cotton brokers Keith Brown and Co in Georgia, adding forecasts for dry weather in West Texas in the coming weeks were also aiding cotton’s rise.

The speculators that drove cotton’s correction from multi-year highs hit in late February have likely returned to the market and that could boost prices to about 86 cents, Brown said.

The natural fibre also took support from gains in US soyabeans, corn and wheat futures.