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Cotton prices continue loosing streak
24
Feb '09
Today is first notice day for March cotton. There were 159 notices issued by Allenberg. Cargill stopped 103 indicating that they held approximately 65 percent of the open interest in March. However, open interest in March had dwindled to less than 2,600 lots going into Friday's session.

Cotton closed lower every day last week despite a friendly planting intentions report and strong export sales report. Friday's lower close gave the bears the advantage for the seventh time in the last eight sessions. Most traders credited the extremely weak stock market as the prime culprit Friday. Fear of a global economic meltdown overshadowed any other piece of fundamental news. However, losses in cotton were relatively modest compared with some other row crops.

For the week, March cotton lost 100 points, May cotton 112 points and new crop December cotton, which should have been the recipient of the "bullish" planting intentions, 161 points.

Had it not been for gold sky rocking $60 per ounce and oil trying to creep back up, the CRB Index of 19 commodities would have really been in trouble. As it was it lost "only" 1200 points to the lowest level since June of 2002. The CRB has given back in seven and a half months what it took seven and a half years to gain. (Oct 2001 to February 2009)

With the clock ticking on US loan equities and India fully capable of capping any market rally, it is encouraging to see Texas cotton in such a competitive position in Cotlook A Index. It should be able to capture it's share of whatever business is available. Merchants seem to be split on whether next weeks export number will be greater or less than this week good number. We do know that a fair amount of cotton was sold the early part of last week.

According to China's Ag Minister, reiterated their desire to stabilize cotton production this year, while continuing to increase the acreage of oilseeds. This was posted on their website last night but provided no additional details. Surveys have already indicated that Chinese farmers will likely reduce cotton acreage after this years slump in prices and more than ample domestic supplies.

Technically, in our last letter we warned that close below 4800 could lead to a multi-week correction with downside targets of roughly 4600, 4200 and 3800. That was based March which is now in delivery. Internet problems prevent transmission last week when analysis changed to the May contract. May posted it lowest close Friday since December 10th.

While it is a poor timing indicator, contrary opinion readings show only 24% bulls. Which while still has a little room for market to move lower, is a dangerously low reading to be comfortable with that many bears on same side of boat. Would probably indicate a decent number of trailing buy stops over the market.

Stochastics are oversold and threatening to turn up from the lowest level since November 12.Although the market is primed for a technical bounce, May should run into trouble between 4650 and 4800 with 4725 the midpoint.

Swiss Financial Services


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