Cotton Futures Decline as China’s Import Demand May Ebb

Cotton futures fell for the first time in a week on concern that demand may ease in China, the world’s top importer. Sugar and cocoa also dropped, while orange juice and coffee advanced.

China plans to sell cotton from reserves soon to meet demand from textile producers, the National Development and Reform Commission said on Dec. 28. In the week ended Dec. 27, exports sales of upland cotton from the U.S., the biggest shipper, fell 36 percent from a week earlier, government data showed today.

“If the Chinese begin to sell reserves, it takes a lot of buying out of international markets,” Andy Ryan, a senior risk manager at INTL FCStone in Nashville, Tennessee, said in an e-mail. “I don’t think that is bullish, by anyone’s count.”

Cotton for March delivery slid 0.5 percent to settle at 75.05 cents a pound at 2:30 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, the first decline since Dec. 28.

Raw-sugar futures for March delivery fell 1.3 percent to 18.85 cents a pound. Earlier, the price touched 18.77 cents, the lowest for a most-active contract since Dec. 14. This week, the commodity dropped 2.9 percent, the most since late October.

Supplies will be 6.18 million metric tons higher than demand in the year that started in October, the third surplus in a row, according to the International Sugar Association.

“The market is bearish, and it will not change soon,” Juliano Ferreira, a broker at ICAP do Brasil Ctvm in Sao Paulo, said in an e-mail.

Cocoa futures for March delivery fell 1.6 percent to $2,220 a ton. This week, the price decline 1.3 percent, the third straight drop.

Orange-juice futures for March delivery increased 1.2 percent to $1.1295 a pound, the first gain since Dec. 19. This week, the price tumbled 11 percent, the most since mid-May, as the absence of cold weather benefited crops in Florida, the world’s second-biggest grower.

Arabica-coffee futures for March delivery advanced 0.6 percent to $1.4735 a pound.

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