Cotton Futures Fall to Lowest in Almost Three Weeks; Cocoa Drops

Cotton futures fell to the lowest in almost three weeks on speculation that a slowing economy in China, the world’s biggest user, will curb demand. Cocoa and orange juice also declined.

China’s benchmark money-market rates tumbled for a second day, extending a retreat from record highs, on signs that targeted injections of funds are being used to ease a cash crunch that threatens to worsen an economic slowdown. Global equities resumed the slide begun last week after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the central bank will ease stimulus measures should the economy continue to improve.

“External macroeconomic drivers are putting pressure” on prices, Gary Raines, a vice president of economics and analysis at FCStone LLC in Nashville, Tennessee, said in a telephone interview. “Concern that China’s imports will slow had been there for a while, and with the volatility in other markets, cotton is going along for the ride.”

Cotton for December delivery slumped 1.7 percent to settle at 83.18 cents a pound at 2:34 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, after touching 83.11 cents, the lowest for a most-active contract since June 6. Prices dropped for a sixth straight session, the longest slump this month. Trading was 45 percent below the average for this time in the past 100 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

China’s cotton imports in May tumbled 31 percent from a year earlier, the nation’s customs agency said last week. By July 31, 2014, the country’s stockpiles will climb 18 percent to 58.93 million bales, or about 64 percent of the world’s total, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates. A bale weighs 480 pounds, or 218 kilograms.

Also in New York, cocoa futures for September delivery slid 0.1 percent to $2,149 a metric ton. Earlier, the price touched $2,135, the lowest since April 5.

Orange-juice futures for September delivery declined 1 percent to $1.4035 a pound, the sixth straight drop, the longest slump since October.

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