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NEW YORK: ICE cotton futures rose on Friday, as projections of higher exports offset a hike in estimated US production in a monthly supply and demand report released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Cotton contracts for December rose 0.38 cent, or 0.4%, to 93.60 cents per lb, by 1:56 p.m. EDT.

In its September World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, the USDA projected US production at 18.5 million bales, 1.2 million bales higher than the previous month.

The agency, however, increased its estimate for US exports by 500,000 bales to 15.5 million bales, leaving its forecast for ending stocks at 3.7 million bales.

Kansas-based commodity analyst Sid Love noted that the market took support from the increased export forecasts.

"While the increase in the USDA's production forecast should not have been a surprise, the surprise was that it was so big. But the USDA also increased the exports, so you end up with a carryover in line with expectations."

Further supporting the brighter outlook for exports, in a separate report, the USDA reported net sales of 453,000 running bales for 2021/2022 in the week to Sept. 2. Net sales in the previous week were only 105,200 RB.

"In the long-term the US potentially producing more cotton is probably the most friendly thing for the market, because we've seen that when the US produces cotton the world buys it," said Louis Barbera, partner and analyst at VLM Commodities Ltd.

"The USDA is also assuming near record-breaking yields for cotton and I don't know if that's on the cards. People are quick to go off better crop conditions and not realize how far behind we are on the crop," Barbera said, noting that cotton's price action suggested some skepticism over the production forecast.

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