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ICE Cotton Futures down more than 350 pts this week
May '14
After trading in a range for the first part of the week, ICE Cotton futures sold off sharply on Thursday and Friday, with N4 settling at 86.31, down more than 350 pts for the week. Z4 too lost 3 cents, with the entire cotton market focused on much anticipated rain in West Texas. 
Although the market first sold off on the initial forecast, it continued dropping through as follow-up precipitation continues to fall and more expected over the weekend. It was a case of sell the rumor, sell the fact. 
These rains will help irrigated acres develop and – if this is indeed the beginning of a trend change brought on by El Nino – then WTX dry-land acres may produce a crop after all. Widespread pressure on the basis – largely brought on by Australian middlings pressuring the US medium-grade basis – didn’t help, and nor have steadily climbing cert stocks that now number 430k and are highly undesirable with N4 still at a (albeit reduced) premium to Z4. 
Yet perhaps most disappointing to bulls must have been the market’s failure after the release of a massive current crop export figure on Thursday; traders simply didn’t believe the figure or, in other words, assumed that the sales will either be fulfilled with a foreign growth or rolled over into new crop. It was all bearish this week.
Going forward, mills will likely come in to fix around here, and on paper at least there should be renewed buying at more respectable basis levels from a range of foreign markets. With perhaps the worst of the Australian panic out of the way and the market entering over-sold territory, a bounce in the N4 seems likely.


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