ICE cotton futures jumped more than 2 percent to a near three-month high on Tuesday, as investors bid up the natural fiber in anticipation of a possible trade deal between the United States and China, while a weaker dollar provided further support.
* The most active cotton contract on ICE Futures U.S., the May contract , settled up 1.65 cents, or 2.25 percent, at 74.85 cents per lb.
* The front-month contract hit its highest level since Dec. 21 at 75.00 cents per lb.
* "Cotton is higher on optimism regarding U.S.-China trade talks and rumors of recent strong export sales of U.S. cotton," said Louis Rose, director of research and analytics at Tennessee-based Rose Commodity Group.
* "These factors likely are forcing some spec short-covering," Rose said.
* The United States and China may be in the final weeks of talks to hammer out a deal and an agreement will open up a lot of agricultural sales, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer
* The United States is the world's biggest cotton exporter, while China is the top consumer.
* The dollar index was down 0.3 percent, lending further support to cotton prices.
* A weaker greenback makes commodities priced in dollars,such as cotton, less expensive for holders of other currencies.
* Total futures market volume rose by 20,888 to 41,458 lots. Data showed total open interest gained 1,255 to 221,092 contracts in the previous session.
* Certificated cotton stocks deliverable as of March 11 totaled 112,228 480-lb bales, down from 123,219 in the previous session. – Reuters (Source: sharenet.co.za)