Shurley on Cotton: Market Implodes

By Dr. Don Shurley

 

Everyone wants to know what has happened to the market and why? Unfortunately, there are no easy answers.                                                                                                                                            

Most analysts saw the possible range in prices for the 2014 crop to be from 70 to 85 cents, with 70 to 75 cents being the pessimistic outlook and 85 cents being the top, or optimistic, outlook.

The combination of factors/forces that would lead to the low end of that range in prices certainly appears to have materialized. In fact, we’ve seen prices (Dec14 futures) drop from about 85 cents in early May to 68 cents, closing at 68.12 on July 11. Prices were able to hold support at around 76 cents or better for most of June, but it’s been a freefall since then.  

USDA recently released its much anticipated July production and supply/demand numbers. But prices had already begun their slide two weeks ago, so it’s hard to lay the blame completely on that report.  Having said that, however, over the past couple of weeks, analysts had already begun to anticipate today’s numbers and factor that into prices. Thus, the slide had already begun. The report not only confirmed those expectations, the numbers were actually more than expected – and even worse for prices.

The U.S. crop is estimated at 16.5 million bales. This is based on the June acres planted estimate, an abandonment of only 15 percent, and a yield of 816 lbs/acre. 

The August report will be the first to contain an actual survey-based yield estimate for this year’s crop. Crop conditions have improved, and the August production estimate could move even higher. As of July 6, 55 percent of the U.S. crop was rated good to excellent, compared to 53 percent for the previous week and 44 percent last year.

U.S. exports for 2014/15 are pegged at 10.2 million bales. This compares to 9.7 million in the June estimate and 10.5 million bales last year. Given the abundance of stocks in China and worldwide, exports of over 10 million bales would be better than thought possible. It could also simply be reflecting higher export supplies and lower prices.

U.S. ending stocks are projected to be 5.2 million bales at the end of the 2014 crop marketing year – up from 2.7 million bales on-hand going in.

On the foreign and total World picture, the report continues to trend in the wrong direction. World stocks at the end of the 2014 crop year are now projected to be 105.7 million bales – up another three million bales from the June estimate. Some of this is accounted for by the U.S. increase. The bulk of the rest of it is further increase in China.

For the 2013 crop marketing year that will conclude on July 31, USDA lowered China’s cotton Use by one million bales.

There were no other changes, so this increases 2013/14 ending stocks (2014/15 beginning stocks) by that one million bales. China’s Use for the 2014 crop year was lowered a half million bales from the June projection. So, in total, China’s stocks projected to be on-hand next year this time were upped 1.5 million bales from the June estimate.

It’s projected that China’s stocks will increase another one million bales this season (from 61.31 to 62.26 million bales). The Chinese stocks situation is not new. These stocks have been building since 2010, and the market (prices) has dealt with this for going on four years.

Chinese stocks have been the bomb waiting to explode. But the market could, for the most part, ignore it for two reasons: (1) China wasn’t using the stocks, so in the short-term the big supply didn’t matter, and (2) stocks outside of China (in the rest of the world – ROW) were “tight.”

Well, as it ends up, neither of these were 100 percent true, and this was pointed out during producer meetings this past winter. Regardless of the reasons and stocks policies, the fact is that China will import much less cotton for the 2014 crop season. That’s can’t be good for the U.S. that depends on exports and China being our number one buyer. Also, the ROW stocks that were said to be “tight” were, in fact over time, getting less tight during the past season as evidenced by the trend in USDA’s monthly numbers. As it ends up, ROW ending stocks for 2013 were greater than for 2012 and not that much lower than previous years. Today’s numbers show stocks in both China and the ROW are expected to continue to grow.

Prices are likely to remain under the pressure of potentially large supplies. World Use at 111 million bales, compared to 112 million projected in June, also doesn’t help. It appears that the pessimistic worst case is being realized. Producers are fortunate if they already have a fair portion of expected 2014 production priced. Otherwise, it could be tough for prices to mount much of a comeback between now and harvest unless supply shocks take place and/or demand improves.

There may still be enough optimism out there to think we’ve slipped too far, too fast. But will anybody risk being a buyer in this market until something bullish actually happens? This market desperately needs stability – something to stop the free fall. If prices don’t bounce back to your satisfaction between now and harvest, you’ll have to wait and give the market longer to hopefully adjust back up over the winter.

 

 

Shurley is Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Georgia

 

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

Market Analysis Stories
Market Analysis

Quality Continues to Drive Cotton’s “Joyful Ride”

February 21, 2015

Cotton’s joyful ride continues, as prices have pressed the 65 cent level, driven by demand for quality machine harvested cotton.

Market Analysis

Plexus: Time for the Market to Rest and Regroup?

February 20, 2015

Look for the market pull back a bit and regroup over the coming weeks. But don’t worry. It’s just taking a breather.

Market Analysis

Plexus: Buying Pressure Should Keep Cotton Moving Up

February 18, 2015

Buying pressure over the coming months should help maintain the current upward move for cotton.

Market Analysis

Plexus: Market in Perfect Shape for a Short Squeeze

February 10, 2015

Since starting to move higher, the March contract has gained more than 450 points and has moved through some key resistance levels. Buyers are now firmly in control of the market.

OA Cleveland
Market Analysis

Market is Scrambling for Quality Cotton

February 7, 2015

The market is plowing new territory each week as mills search for quality cotton. And they’re starting to get desperate.

Market Analysis

Plexus: Market Maneuvering Into an “Interesting Position”

February 3, 2015

Continued strong demand for U.S. cotton has lifted the futures market to a two-week high, helping to maneuver the market into an interesting position.

Market Analysis

Will the U.S. Sell Out of Cotton?

February 2, 2015

World consumption is trending up, and the market is suggesting that the U.S. will “sell out” of cotton this year if prices do not increase.

Around The Gin
Product News

New Cheminova Chemistry to Help Control Herbicide Resistant Weeds

February 23, 2015

Cheminova plans to register pethoxamid, a new herbicide active ingredient, to help growers manage herbicide-resistant weeds.

Product News

Brake Herbicide Receives Section 18 Approvals in Six States

February 18, 2015

Brake Herbicide has received Section 18 emergency use exemptions for control of glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth in six cotton producing states.

Precision Technology

TeeJet Matrix 430 Provides Simple, Easy-to-Use Guidance

February 18, 2015

TeeJet Technologies’ new Matrix 430 GNSS guidance system is ideal for a wide range of field applications.

Precision Technology

TeeJet Launches RX520 High-Precision GNSS Receiver

February 17, 2015

TeeJet Technologies has introduced the RX520 dual frequency GNSS receiver for precision farming operations.

Disease Control / Nematodes

Velum Total Approved for Cotton, Peanuts in 2015

February 12, 2015

Bayer CropScience has received registration for Velum Total, a new insecticide/nematicide for use in cotton and peanuts in 2015.

Disease Control / Nematodes

EPA Approves TOPGUARD Terra for Cotton Root Rot Control

February 6, 2015

TOPGUARD Terra fungicide from Cheminova has received EPA registration for control of cotton root rot.

Product News

Deltapine to Release Five Bollgard II XtendFlex Cotton Varieties

January 27, 2015

Following USDA deregulation of the Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton technology, Deltapine has announced plans to offer five new B2XF varieties for the 2015 season.

Product News

Bollgard II XtendFlex Cotton Poised for Limited Introduction

January 21, 2015

A limited introduction of Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton varieties is planned for the 2015 planting season through Deltapine and select licensees.

Latest News
Market Analysis

Quality Continues to Drive Cotton’s “Joyful Ride”

February 21, 2015

Cotton’s joyful ride continues, as prices have pressed the 65 cent level, driven by demand for quality machine harvested cotton.

Market Analysis

Plexus: Time for the Market to Rest and Regroup?

February 20, 2015

Look for the market pull back a bit and regroup over the coming weeks. But don’t worry. It’s just taking a breather.

Market Analysis

Plexus: Buying Pressure Should Keep Cotton Moving Up

February 18, 2015

Buying pressure over the coming months should help maintain the current upward move for cotton.

Market Analysis

Market Faces Long and Crooked Row to Higher Prices

February 17, 2015

The market has a very long and crooked row to hoe on its path to higher prices. However, it is sending multiple signals that the 57 cent resistance level did hold, and prices can now begin to ease higher.

Market Analysis

Shurley on Cotton: Upward Progress Finally Being Made

February 11, 2015

Prices should be nearer the bottom end of their likely range. If you’re going to plant cotton in 2015, be patient and wait for possible rallies this summer.

Market Analysis

Plexus: Market in Perfect Shape for a Short Squeeze

February 10, 2015

Since starting to move higher, the March contract has gained more than 450 points and has moved through some key resistance levels. Buyers are now firmly in control of the market.

Market Analysis

Market is Scrambling for Quality Cotton

February 7, 2015

The market is plowing new territory each week as mills search for quality cotton. And they’re starting to get desperate.

Market Analysis

Plexus: Market Maneuvering Into an “Interesting Position”

February 3, 2015

Continued strong demand for U.S. cotton has lifted the futures market to a two-week high, helping to maneuver the market into an interesting position.

Market Analysis

Will the U.S. Sell Out of Cotton?

February 2, 2015

World consumption is trending up, and the market is suggesting that the U.S. will “sell out” of cotton this year if prices do not increase.

Market Analysis

Shurley on Cotton: Prices Struggle as New Round of Weakness Sets In

January 26, 2015

For the fourth time since last spring, prices have again failed to hold support as new negative forces overtake the market. The decline in prices is concerning, but is offset somewhat by a strong basis and premiums for quality and an increasing LDP/MLG.

Market Analysis

Market Struggles with Black Swans and Bears

January 26, 2015

Although the bears have finally pulled prices into the 50s, the ability of old crop cotton to hold near the 60 cent level is phenomenal, given the current “Black Swan” financial market.

Market Analysis

Plexus: Get Ready for a Few Weeks of Volatility

January 23, 2015

While the market situation for U.S. cotton may seem friendly, it is being overshadowed by the negative outlook for commodities stemming from a strong dollar, lower economic growth and fears of another financial meltdown.

Market Analysis

Bears Are Growling, but Market Holds Firm

January 19, 2015

The fifty-centers are still out there and are beginning to beat their drums louder and louder, but the current trading range has proven to be most resilient.

Market Analysis

Plexus: Price Reacting to Non-Cotton Issues

January 16, 2015

Negative vibes from outside markets are overshadowing fairly constructive developments on the cotton front.

Market Analysis

Shurley on Cotton: Prices Just Treading Water

January 13, 2015

Recent activity has simply solidified the sideways pattern this market has been in for quite a while.