Cotton Climbs to 9-Month High; Sugar, Cocoa, Orange Juice Gain

Cotton futures advanced to the highest since May on firm demand for supply from the U.S., the world’s top shipper, just as output is expected to drop. Sugar, cocoa and orange juice also rose, while coffee slid.

In the week ended Feb. 21, cotton sales were 5 percent above the previous four-week average, with purchases led by Vietnam and China, the world’s biggest consumer, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report today. Farmers in Texas, the top cotton-growing state, may sow 25 percent fewer acres in 2013 as they switch to more profitable crops, Gaylon Morgan, a specialist at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in College Station, said Feb. 26 in a report.

“Consistent Chinese demand and lesser and lesser planting is strong bullish fuel,” Michael Sweeney, a senior cotton broker at Marex Spectron in New York, said in an e-mail today. “Texas is nearly half of the U.S. crop, and further confirmation of 25 percent less acreage planted certainly reinvigorates bulls.”

Cotton for May delivery climbed 1.1 percent to settle at 85.29 cents a pound at 2:30 p.m. on ICE Futures in New York, the highest closing price for a most-active contract since May 9. Prices jumped 2.8 percent in February, the fourth straight gain.

Also in New York, raw-sugar futures for May delivery added 1.7 percent to 18.39 cents a pound.

Cocoa futures for delivery in May rose 0.2 percent to $2,135 a metric ton on ICE.

Orange-juice futures for delivery in May increased 1.7 percent to $1.278 a pound in New York, gaining 6.7 percent this month.

Arabica-coffee futures for delivery in May fell 0.2 percent to $1.432 a pound on ICE.

Coffee inventory in warehouses monitored by ICE is the highest since March 2010.

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