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ICE Cotton trends stay unchanged this week
Nov '13
ICE Cotton basis H4 closed almost unchanged again this week despite the Z/H spread climbing again to about 100 pts carry. Gains early in the week were offset by a sell-off on Thursday on seemingly no news; articles continue to circulate about the impending release of Chinese reserve stocks, yet the floor provided by Chinese imports under the 40% tariff rate is nearby.

Evidence of solid Chinese (and Turkish and Vietnamese) demand at current levels was provided by USDA Weekly Export report, which totaled 472k bales, comfortably above most estimates. The lateness of the crop continues to be felt in anemic export shipments, although these will pick up in coming weeks.

Z3 open interest has fallen quickly following index rolls, while cert stocks have gradually built to close to 250k bales. Nonetheless, rumors continue to focus on how much of the certified stock may already be committed for export, and whether the delivering party actually intends to deliver. In the macro world, US equities continued setting records following remarks by Janet Yellen, the nominee for Chairman of the Federal Reserve, that were interpreted as supportive of continued monetary easing.

The threat of another Congressional-White House dispute looms in early 2014 too, so the Fed may be hesitant to reduce stimulus ahead of that as in September. Analysts appear mixed though, as on the back of recent stronger-than-expected data during the government shutdown, many think “tapering” possible after the Fed’s December meeting.

In China, the 3rd Plenum convened, spurring a huge amount of commentary about whether or not proposed reforms will be significant. The reform process in China will be a long game, with specific results not properly measurable for some time, but leaders there clearly recognize the need for change and are moving towards it.

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