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Cotton farmers heave sigh of relief on timely arrival of rain
May '09
The anticipated annual Memorial Day rains came right on schedule. The radar screen for the Eastern Cotton Belt looked like it had been peppered with a shotgun all weekend. The heaviest rains seem to virtually cover entire state of Mississippi as well as Central Alabama and Eastern Arkansas However, while most rain gages in West Texas collected at least some measurable precip, most did not and those that did didn't get much Three day totals at eight key locations south and west of Lubbock where the better part of the dryland is found ranged from .10 to.98: with the exception being Seminole where two inches fell.

The only gauges that registered more than one inch in any single 24 hour period were Crosbyton, Plainview and Seminole. The cotton market reversed directions in each of the last six sessions - with no follow-through either way and staying within the 2 cent range set early in the week.

The cotton market seemed to attract more day traders than anything else as witnessed by the only slight change in open interest. Open interest in cotton changed only 298 contracts since last Friday. Additionally, the A Index, representing the average of the world's five cheapest offers for Middling 1 3//32 delivered into the Far East, was basically flat on the week. For the week, July cotton gained 81 points while December picked up 131 for the period.

The news background really provided little motivation for cotton traders to trade any more aggressively. Most of talk seemed to be on the Texas and Delta weather and China's initial release of state-owned stocks. The Chinese offered nearly seven million bales at minimum prices designed to not hurt values while relieving some of the tightness at the mill level.

Apparently, many textile mills are holding record low inventories. However, only about half the cotton sold. Thoughts are that tight credit was probably the reason. The total offered would be about the equivalent of about two months needs. This could cool export sales to China for the next couple of months.

If there was a warning shot fired across the bow about what is ahead for us it was the declining confidence and steep decline of the US dollar to new lows for 2009. There has been a widespread fear that the AAA debt rating enjoyed by the US could be in jeopardy.

Several countries have already had had their ratings cut due to rising debt issues. As the dollar declines, commodities are inclined to rise and both the various commodity indices look like with a little help would begin to move higher once again. No doubt that these are major reasons commodity ETFs are becoming more and more popular. An exchange traded fund or ETF is a stock that represents a certain amount of an underlying physical commodity.

This has lead to the commodity fund sector attracting new speculative money again as fears of inflation continue to grow and the dollar weakens. According to latest records, net in inflows of speculative funds during April; was the highest amount in eight months. The domestic consumption report is due this next week.

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Courtesy: Commonwealth Bank of Australia

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