DTN Cotton Close: Mixed as December Gains

    U.S. export commitments for 2017-18 stand 13% over the USDA estimate, compared with 96% of final 2016-17 shipments a year ago. New-crop bookings widened the lead over year-ago forward sales to 1.339 million RB.

    Cotton futures finished mixed Thursday, with July closing on a small loss and December on a slight gain at new contract high settlement.

    July settled down 18 points at 84.50 cents, around the middle of its 129-point range from up 44 points at 85.12 cents to down 85 points at 83.83 cents. It edged above Wednesday’s high to the highest intraday price since the reversal down of April 23, failing again to hold above 85 cents.

    December closed up 16 points to 79.59 cents, trading within a tight 47-pont range from 79.67 cents to 79.20 cents. Drought concerns in the Texas Plains offered support. At the high, December was 23 points from its life-of-contract high set April 23.

    Volume increased to an estimated 25,100 lots from 23,308 lots the previous session when spreads accounted for 6,274 lots or 27%, EFS 152 lots and EFP 100 lots. Options volume rose to 8,811 lots (4,522 calls and 4,289 puts) from 7,923 lots (4,815 calls and 3,108 puts).

    Net U.S. all-cotton export sales of 200,900 running bales during the week ended April 26 for shipment this season, down from 318,000 running bales the prior week but up 46,900 RB from the corresponding week last year, lifted 2017-18 commitments to 16.43 million RB.

    Upland net sales of 189,900 RB, near the low end of the range of trader expectations, reflected gross sales of 240,800 RB and cancellations of 51,000 RB. Prices during the reporting week ranged from 85.39 cents to 81.36 cents, basis July, and have traded within that 403-point range since then.

    Commitments — outstanding sales of 6.292 million RB plus shipments — are 2.463 million RB or 18% more than a year ago and stand 13% above the USDA export estimate. A year ago, commitments were 96% of final 2016-17 shipments.

    All-cotton net sales for shipment next season at a strong 299,100 RB, up from 259,300 RB the previous week, brought the weekly total for both crop years to 500,000 RB and 2018-19 commitments to 3.684 million RB.

    New-crop commitments widened the lead over forward bookings a year ago to 1.339 million RB or 57% and climbed to 24% of the preliminary USDA forecast made at the February outlook conference. Year-ago forward bookings were 15% of the current 2017-18 estimate.

    All-cotton shipments of 444,900 RB, up from 427,900 RB the week before and from 375,400 RB during the corresponding week last year, hiked the total for the season to 10.138 million RB and narrowed the gap behind year-ago exports to 109,000 RB.

    Exports reached 70% of the USDA projection, compared with shipments at 71% the final 2016-17 count a year ago. To achieve the 2017-18 estimate, shipments now need to average roughly 322,000 RB a week.

    Certified stocks grew 1,920 bales to 75,633 bales. There were 2,536 newly certified bales 616 bales decertified. Open interest increased 2,691 lots to 272,936 on Wednesday, with July’s up 1,630 lots to 138,810 lots and December’s up 600 lots to 107,845 lots.

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