Cotton futures finished mixed in slow dealings Thursday, with most-active July settling modestly ahead on a five-session high close.
July gained 23 points to close at 84.17 cents, recapturing the ground it had lost in Tuesday’s steep drop. It finished just below the midpoint of its 140-point range from 84.97 cents to 83.57 cents, unable to overcome resistance at the high of Monday’s reversal from a new seven-week high. Maturing May also settled up 23 points at 84.99 cents.
December eased three points to settle at 78.96 cents, just above the midpoint of its 75-point range between 78.50 cents and 79.25 cents. The other contract months settled down 47 points to up five points.
The market touched session highs on the heels of healthy U.S. weekly export sales-shipments data reported by USDA but lacked follow-through momentum.
Volume slowed to an estimated 25,100 lots from 33,074 lots the previous session when spreads accounted for 7,194 lots or 22%, EFS 134 lots and EFO 12 lots. Options volume increased to 12,348 lots (9,891 calls and 2,457 puts) from 11,311 lots (5,989 calls and 5,322 puts).
All-cotton export sales for shipment this season topped most expectations at 318,000 running bales, up from 295,100 RB the prior week. Commitments for 2017-18 climbed to 16.229 million RB, 11% over the USDA estimate.
New-crop sales of 259,300 RB, up from 229,800 the week before, lifted combined sales for both crop years to 577,300 RB for a whopping two-week total of 1.102 million RB. Those are the largest combined crop year sales in seven weeks and the third largest of this marketing year.
(CORRECTION: Upland net sales for both crop years of 571,300 RB were misstated in the initial morning cotton report).
Commitments for 2017-18 — outstanding sales of 6.536 million RB plus shipments — now stand 2.416 million RB or 17% over cumulative sales a year ago when bookings were 95% of final 2016-17 shipments.
Cumulative new-crop sales reached 3.385 million RB, up 1.137 million RB from forward bookings last year, and were 22% of USDA’s early 2018-19 export projection. Forward commitments a year ago were 15% of the current 2017-18 export estimate.
All-cotton shipments of 427,900 RB, up from 371,200 RB the previous week, raised the total for the season to 9.693 million RB, narrowing the gap behind a year ago to 179,000 RB.
Shipments have reached 67% of the USDA estimate, compared with 68% of final exports at the corresponding point last year. To achieve the estimate, shipments now need to average roughly 330,400 RB a week.
Certified stocks increased 972 bales to 68,682 bales on new entries at Memphis. Open rose by 1,628 lots to 283,742 lots Wednesday, with May’s down 66 lots to 181, July’s up 1,790 lots to 133,805 lotsand December’s down 190 lots to 104,391 lots.