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Cotton Price Forecast and Market Outlook

The global cotton price has recently peaked at 101.7 cents per pound on 13 June. Potential remains for cotton price to make another run higher during the next couple of months. After the speculative impact in China started to wain, the A-Index price started to weaken. The impetus for the run-up has been concerns over West Texas cotton area and the current drought conditions. Large abandonment is projected, yet even irrigated cotton production was starting to be affected. During the past couple of weeks though, rains have been seen across the West Texas region giving a break to the hot dry weather.

Global cotton price for June has recently weakened further. The trade spat between the United States and other countries, in particular China of late, is pressuring many financial and commodity markets to soften. US cotton futures and the A-Index have weakened in the current week looking to finish June at a much lower level. Cotton prices are projected to strengthen back higher into July and August. The Northern Hemisphere growing season still has months that can make or break the size of the 2018/19 crop. The fourth-quarter cotton price is set to be lower than current levels but higher than last year during the same timeframe.

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Cotton Market Fundamentals

  • Supply
    • The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) crop progress report for 18 June 2018 indicated US cotton planting was 96% complete compared with a 94% five-year average. Cotton conditions this season are well below last year with good-to-excellent ratings at 38% compared with 61%.
    • Indian monsoon started on track though in mid-June although recently has stalled. It is projected to regain strength during the last week of June.
    • Companhia Nacional de Abastecimento (CONAB), Brazilian national company for food supply, reported that harvesting in Sao Paulo has reached 70% while Bahia is starting slow. Mato Grosso cotton harvesting should be just beginning.
  • Demand
    • China is set to add 25% tariff to US-based cotton exports. During the current spat India is set to pick up some additional exports.
    • The Chinese cotton reserve auction sold 9,200 metric tons on 20 June 2018, 31% sold. The turnover of cotton stocks has dramatically dropped since intervention to decrease no mill participation and expand Chinese imports.
    • The USDA weekly export reports indicate nearly 5 million 480 lb bales of upland cotton have been contracted for export for the 2018/19 season.


Ryland Maltsbarger

Mr. Maltsbarger supervises the long-term Global Crops and Livestock Services along with the monthly update of the quarterly price forecast. He is directly responsible for global sugar and cotton forecasts. Other duties include forecasts and publication of the Global Crops Cost of Production Service. Mr. Maltsbarger received his MBA and his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia, US.

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