By Duane Howell DTN Cotton Correspondent

February 9, 2018 (Source:
Mills priced a net 11,690 lots in the three remaining 2017-18 marketing year contract months. U.S. cotton industry leaders hailed passage of new cotton policy. Cotton futures dipped to a new low by a narrow margin and rallied to finish fractionally higher Friday, underpinned by suspected mill on-call fixations.

Spot March inched up six points to close at 76.68 cents, in the upper half of its 153-point range from up 65 points at 77.27 cents — the overnight high — to down 88 points at 75.74 cents. It hit a new low intraday low for the fourth time this week since Dec. 21.

May closed up seven points at 77.63 cents, July finished up eight points at 78.58 cents and December settled up 35 points to 75.52 cents. For the week, March dropped 62 points, May lost 98 points, July dipped 88 points and December gained 44 points. March has lost ground three weeks in a row for a total of 674 points.

Volume slowed to an electronically estimated 61,700 lots from a huge cleared turnover of 101,587 lots the previous session when spreads accounted for 72,084 lots or 71%, EFS 4,335 lots and EFP 23 lots. Mills priced a net 11,690 on-call lots (1.169 million bales) in the three remaining 2017-18 marketing year contract months last week, reducing their unfixed old-crop sales to 95,431 lots (9.543 million bales).   

The latest call data, released by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission after the close Thursday, showed producers added a net 546 lots to lift their unpriced position in March, May and July to 10,417 lots (1.042 million bales). The net call difference declined 12,236 lots to 85,014, which was 34.3% of the declining open interest, down from 35.9%.

In spot March, the pricing or rolling of 10,973 lots by mills and 1,210 lots by producers cut their respective unpriced positions to 17,932 lots and 4,365 lots. This reduced the net difference 9,763 lots to 13,567, 11.98% of the March open interest, down from 15.31%. Across the board, unfixed positions fell 9,312 lots to 145,343 on the mill side and rose by 2,368 lots to 34,195 on the producer side, dropping the net difference 11,680 lots to 111,148, 37.06% of the open interest.

On the policy front, cotton industry leaders hailed congressional passage of a supplemental disaster bill that restores eligibility for cotton in the Title 1 Price Loss Coverage and Agricultural Risk Coverage farm bill programs. The legislation also includes agricultural disaster assistance and additional support for dairy producers.

“This measure will provide cotton producers and lenders some certainty as they prepare for the 2018 growing season,” Ronnie Lee, chairman of the National Cotton Council, said in a statement. “The new policy will help ease the financial burden as producers struggle to cover total costs.”

The Georgia cotton producer thanked congressional leadership and Cotton Belt lawmakers for recognizing the need for new cotton policy and their awareness of “the challenging financial situation that American cotton producers and their families have faced and continue to face.”  Lee said the NCC has worked for more than two years for a stabilizing policy in advance of the next farm will and will continue to work with Congress and the administration to get a new farm bill enacted.

Johnnie Reed, president of the Lubbock-based Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., said a critical component for cotton producers in the budget agreement approved early Friday morning provides for seed cotton farm program eligibility effective with the 2018 crop year.

“We have worked toward a long-term solution for growers for many years now, and we appreciate our friends in Congress who have been steadfast in their support and understanding of our needs,” Reed said. “This is significant for cotton growers who for years have operated without a viable safety net, and this will allow many growers to stay in business.” Futures open interest declined 5,205 lots to 285,697 on Thursday, with March’s down 13,812 lots to 72,282 and May’s up 2,726 lots to 103,549. Certified stocks grew 757 bales to 77,284. The addition was at Galveston where 1,522 bales also awaited review. (Source: