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ICE Cotton sees series of fluctuations this week
Mar '14
ICE Cotton had a series of ups and downs this week, with K4 finally settling at 87.14, down 120 pts from last Friday. Export sales were disappointing at only 27k bales, with a 3rd straight week of close-outs in China. 
Assuming a 500k bale shipment rollover at the end of this crop year, the USDA’s export target of 10.5m bales may end up being nearer to point than it had seemed just a few weeks ago. 
Interestingly, specs seemed to have spooked themselves on moderately weaker technicals on Tuesday, as evidenced by today’s COT data release, while the trade used the down move to reduce old crop shorts. The expiring March contract is also failing to find a stopper, driving home the fact that demand becomes thin with the market in the upper 80s.
The main feature of the week though is news from China, where it now seems likely that the domestic reserve sales price will be lowered after purchases conclude at end March, while additional import quota may be issued alongside mill purchases from reserve. 
The net impact may end up being minimal for current crop pricing – a continuation of range-bound trading - but in any case these policies will have less bearing once the Chinese new crop begins harvest in the fall, and the reserve is no longer a high-priced buyer. 
The market is already pricing in this bearish new crop news in the form of the N/Z spread, with the main question being, is the Z4 adequately discounting bearish news, or will it need to fall further to uncover demand amidst a more plentiful global supply situation?


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