Source: Agfax.com

By Duane Howell DTN Cotton Correspondent
April 13, 2018
May reversed off new four-week high. Mills reduced their on-call sales in May by 7,212 lots to 15,947. Groundwater levels declined an average of 0.16 of a foot from 2017 to 2018 on the Texas High Plains. Cotton futures settled mixed Friday, with spot May reversing off a new four-week high to finish on a modest loss.

May, one of two contracts in the loss column, dropped 28 points to close at 83.41 cents, around the lower third of its 139-point range from up 76 points at 84.45 to down 63 points at 83.06 cents. For the week, it gained 87 points. July settled up 35 points to 83.35 cents, in the upper half of its tight 74-point range between 82.90 and 83.64 cents. December edged up eight points to close at 78.91 cents, six ticks off the high of its 34-point range after hitting a new contract high at 78.97 cents. For the week, July gained 117 points and December added 97 points.

Volume increased to an estimated 61,400 lots from 54,765 lots the prior session when spreads accounted for 39,679 lots or 72%, EFS 702 lots and EFP 51 lots. Options volume slipped to 5,560 lots (3,292 calls and 2,268 puts) from 8,488 lots (4,602 calls and 3,886 puts).  Mills reduced their on-call sales in May by 7,212 lots last week to 15,947 with 11 trading sessions then left until first notice day, according to data reported by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission after the close Thursday.

Open interest in May coming into Friday’s session had fallen 49,288 lots from a week earlier to 42,750, suggesting mills had reduced their unpriced sales to a manageable level. Major index fund rolling of longs from May was scheduled to end Thursday. July’s OI rose by 36,826 lots on the week to a hefty 120,264, indicating to some traders that mills and the net-long speculative community may be headed for a showdown there. July is the last contract month of the 2017-18 marketing year.

Producers cut their unpriced May call position by 330 lots to 2,095 last week, with the net call difference falling 6,882 lots to 13,852, 7.92% of the spot month’s OI. The open mill position outweighed that of producers by a ratio of 7.6:1. Out in the countryside, groundwater levels in a 16-county area of Texas High Plains declined by an average 0.16 of a foot from 2017 to 2018, measurements in a network of 1,353 privately owned water wells have shown.

The Lubbock-based High Plains Underground Water Conservation District reported results of the annual measurements into the Ogallala/Edwards-Trinity Aquifers. Measurements also were made in 33 Dockum Aquifer wells. The 10-year average is a decline of 8.76 feet, while the five-year average is a drop of 2.07 feet. The average saturated thickness of the Ogallala within the district now is about 56 feet. Average water levels since 2017 have increased in nine counties and decreased in seven.

Field Technician Supervisor Keith Whitworth said about 40% of 1,250 observation wells measured in 2018 had water level increases. The largest rise was 12.73 feet in a Lubbock County well and the largest decline was 6.96 feet in a Castro County well.

In the broader southern and northern High Plains crop reporting districts, 41.6% of the total cotton acreage was irrigated in 2016, the latest year which figures are available, according to Texas Agricultural Statistics Service data.

Stocks in deliverable position on cotton futures declined 5,220 bales to 67,864 on Thursday. There were 880 newly certified bales and 6,100 bales decertified. Futures open interest increased 3,023 lots to 277,292, up 1,424 lots from a week ago. (Source: Agfax.com)