U.S. export commitments stand at 99% of the new USDA forecast and shipments at 68%. Shipments top year-ago exports by 74%. U.S. Far East premium narrowed.
Cotton futures finished higher Thursday, led by a jump late in the session by soon-to-mature May on its highest settlement since March 31.
May closed up 89 points to 75.62 cents, near the high of its 108-point range from down seven points at 74.66 to up 101 points at 75.74. May options expired and first notice day is five trading sessions ahead.
July settled up 31 points to 76.54 cents, trading within a tight 65-point range from 76.10 to 76.75 cents. December gained 22 points to close at 73.42 cents, trading within a 63-point span from 73.05 to 73.68 cents.
Yet another round of healthy U.S. weekly export sales, though generally expected, and a drop to a 10-session low in the U.S. dollar index may have helped to support the gains.
For the holiday-shortened trading week, May advanced 216 points, July gained 107 points and December added 113 points.
Volume was estimated at 51,476 lots, compared with 53,988 lots the previous session when spreads accounted for 40,940 lots or 76%, EFS 182 lots and EFP 148 lots. Options volume totaled 4,529 lots, including 650 calls and 3,879 puts.
Net U.S. all-cotton export sales for shipment this season of 316,900 running bales during the week ended last Thursday, up from 284,600 RB the previous week, boosted 2016-17 commitments to 13.455 million RB.
Commitments — outstanding sales of 4.268 million RB plus shipments — widened the lead over year-ago bookings to 5.538 million RB or to 70% and were 99% of USDA’s new export forecast. A year ago, commitments were 89% of last season’s final shipments.
All-cotton shipments of 458,200 RB, down slightly from the prior week’s 463,400 RB, brought the total for the season to 9.187 million RB, widening the lead over exports a year ago by 262,000 RB to 3.906 million.
Shipments were up 74% from a year ago and were 68% of the updated USDA projection, compared with 59% of final 2015-16 exports at the corresponding point last season.
To achieve the USDA forecast, shipments need to average roughly 274,600 RB a week for the 16 weeks remaining in the marketing year. Cumulative sales already are within around 125,000 RB of export estimate.
Net all-cotton export sales for shipment next season of 215,700 RB raised sales for both crop years to 532,600 RB from 415,200 RB the week before. Commitments for 2017-18 reached 2.057 million RB, widening the gap over forward bookings a year ago to 926,000 RB or to 82%.
On competitive pricing, the average of the five lowest-priced world growths for the Far East declined 70 points to 84.14 cents for the week ended Thursday, according to USDA, while the lowest-priced U.S. growth of comparable quality landed there fell 105 points to 84.40 cents.
The U.S. premium thus narrowed to 26 points from 61 points. The adjusted world price for the marketing week ending next Thursday, reflecting transportation and quality differentials, is figured at 66.71 cents, leaving the marketing loan gain at zero.
Futures open interest declined 5,136 lots Wednesday to 245,852, with May’s down 15,675 lots to 44,583, July’s up 9,237 lots to 104,808 and December’s up 1,238 lots to 85,035.
Certificated stocks dropped 10,296 bales to 314,766. There were 698 newly certified bales and 10,994 bales decertified. Awaiting review were 1,814 bales at Galveston.