Cotton Jumps 4.2% to Record as China Cold Spell Threatens Crops

Cotton futures extended a rally to record as a cold front threatened to damage the crop in China, the world’s biggest user.

A cold spell that started yesterday will last until tomorrow and may hurt plants, the China Meteorological Center said. Prices jumped the most allowed by ICE Futures U.S. for the second straight session. Last week, hail pounded fields in Texas, the top grower in the U.S., the largest exporter.

“The market is reacting to the news from China and what has happened in Texas,” said John Flanagan, the president of Flanagan Trading Corp. in Fuquay Varina, North Carolina. “Even at these prices, we are witnessing strong demand.”

Cotton futures for December delivery rose by the maximum of 5 cents, or 4.2 percent, to settle at $1.2471 a pound in New York, the highest level since the fiber started trading 140 years ago. This year, the price has soared 65 percent, the biggest gain among 19 raw materials in the Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index.

ICE halted options trading today after futures jumped, and the exchange boosted the limit on futures to 6 cents effective tomorrow.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts a 4.3 percent drop in global stockpiles in the year ending July 31. Flanagan said he expects prices to rise to $1.30.

“Cold weather in China’s cotton crop-growing area has stoked concern over production damage,” pushing prices in Zhengzhou to all-time highs, said Toshimitsu Kawanabe, an analyst at Tokyo-based commodity broker Central Shoji Co.

U.S. cotton stockpiles will drop 8.5 percent in the year that began Aug. 1 from a year earlier, the USDA forecast on Oct. 8.

“Concern over damage to the U.S. crop came amid increasing demand prospects, especially from China, where the market sees a drop in output,” said Han Sung Min, a grain-futures broker at Korea Exchange Bank Futures Co. in Seoul.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jae Hur in Tokyo at jhur1@bloomberg.net; Debarati Roy in New York at droy5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net.

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