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Cotton trades in narrow range due to weak exports
Apr '08
Very quiet day as the cotton market looks like it is happy to trade at these levels and start moving positions from May to July at the current spread of 350 pts. Cotton and grains were very quiet overnight and lead to a narrow trading range in New York and Chicago after weak export sales reports. There were rumors that China had purchased a large volume of cotton but that did not appear this week with only 250k in sales and the same in shipments.

We expect next week to be better, but we also have to digest the possibly bearish S&D report on Wednesday as well. Volume was light with the majority of the 20,000 futures involved in rolling from May forward as open interest in the spot month continues to fall steadily.

Options were only 10,000 contracts as the quiet day was another reminder that the market should trade in a fairly tight range as we approach options expiration next Friday. Most all the markets were quiet today as the main feature was a testimony by the Federal Reserve in front of Congress explaining the bail out of Bear Stearns and the possibility of more financial failures.

There is also a negative jobs report expected tomorrow which may weigh heavily on the stock markets and the dollar as commodities try to rally but seem to lack conviction. Business overnight had slowed down as mills seem to have covered what they need for nearby and are willing to wait for better prices.

Technically, we are starting to create a flag pattern with this sideways consolidation, but there is no reason to believe the downside testing is over. We still have the sell signal from the crossing moving averages and cotton broke the long term trend line.

We could continue to trade sideways short term, but based on the growing cert stocks and neutral grain prices, we don't feel there is a lot of upside potential unless we could break 74 cents. We are seeing a less aggressive start to the second quarter than we felt in the first as hedge funds are sitting on the sidelines at the moment.

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