Cotton Declines as U.S. Harvest Accelerates; Cocoa, Sugar Drop

Cotton futures capped the longest slump in more than a month as harvesting accelerates in the U.S., the world’s top exporter. Cocoa, sugar and orange juice also slid, while coffee gained.

Rain will miss some areas in the U.S. cotton belt in the next six to 10 days, allowing farmers to speed up collection of the crop, Joel Widenor, the director of agricultural services at Bethesda, Maryland-based Commodity Weather Group, said in a telephone interview today. About 7 percent of the crop was harvested as of Sept. 29, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. The agency has stopped issuing the weekly figures since the start of a partial government shutdown on Oct. 1.

“The U.S. harvest is ramping up, and cotton is not finding willing buyers,” John Flanagan, the president of Flanagan Trading Corp. in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, said in an e-mail today. “That is putting pressure on prices.”

Cotton for December delivery slipped 0.6 percent to settle at 83.2 cents a pound at 2:32 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. That was the fourth straight drop, the longest slide since Aug. 23.

Cocoa futures for December delivery declined 0.6 percent to $2,703 a metric ton on ICE.

Ivory Coast and Ghana, the biggest growers, will have 25 percent to 50 percent below-normal rainfall over the next 14 days, favoring early harvest, said David Streit, an agricultural meteorologist at Commodity Weather Group.

Raw-sugar futures for March delivery declined 0.2 percent to 18.59 cents a pound in New York, the first loss this week. Orange-juice futures for November delivery fell 0.5 percent to $1.285 a pound, while arabica-coffee futures for December delivery rose 0.2 percent to $1.1525 a pound.

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