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ICE Cotton futures trade unchanged last week
23
Sep '13
ICE Cotton futures traded unchanged on last week, with the main Z3 contract settling at 84.52 c/lbs. Physical supplies for delivery to mills through 2013 year-end are looking increasingly tight, as spot supplies of Australian, West African and Brazilian cotton are minimal and the US harvest is several weeks behind schedule.

Chinese mills that need to import significant quantities by year’s end in order to utilize import quota are thus playing a potentially costly waiting game, relying on dwindling consignment stocks and fast new crop Indian shipments. An Indian Group of Ministers is continuing to explore the market-distorting idea of a 10% tax on cotton exports but nothing has yet been determined. Estimates for the 2014 Australian crop have fallen to about 4.0 million bales due to lower reservoir levels.

The Federal Reserve wrong-footed most analysts on Wednesday as the FOMC said in a statement that it did not feel “tapering” of bond purchases should begin now due to lagging inflation, uncertainty over US fiscal policy, and interest rates that have surged since May.

The USD sold off initially, causing a rally in global equities, bonds and currency crosses but this slowed by week’s end. India’s central bank surprised investors with a rate hike, helping the Rupee bounce back to around 61 against the dollar, well off lows around 70; these gains may yet prove fleeting though.

Analysts are now pushing back their timeline for the announcement of Fed tapering to the FOMC’s December meeting. Amidst all this, US economic data was mostly positive this week, with sales of existing homes the highest since early 2007 and weekly unemployment claims and an index of leading indicators beating expectations. In the background is the growing certainty that Janet Yellen will be the next Chairman of the Fed.

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