Texas Rains Mean Happy Growers, Slipping Market

It was and still is all about weather.

After a four year hiatus, West Texans can again declare, “It always rains by Memorial Day.” The million dollar rain came.

Cotton prices were on the defensive all week as prices moved lower by the day. Leading the price momentum shift lower was the potential rain forecast for the Southwest plains. Intraday forecasts during the week offered increased rainfall estimates, bringing about lower prices. Speculative fund managers, tuned to the forecasts and reading their technical charts, began taking profits and exited the market in mass. The only defense offered came from mill price fixations against on-call sales and actual mill buying.

However, speculative fund profit taking was just too extensive once Mother Nature’s nectar began to bless the western New Mexico and Texas plains. Cotton prices moved lower – some ten cents below the 96 cent highs recently observed. Too, excellent moisture conditions were forecast over the entire Southwestern cotton belt through the weekend – the multi-million dollar variety.

While this does not signal the end of the 100-year drought, it was the first step. Yet, the total absence of subsoil moisture will deem it necessary that a continuation of timely rains throughout the growing season will be necessary if the crop is to live up to its potential.

So, where does the market go from here?

First, the lower prices uncovered excellent demand. Unfixed mill call sales continue to be supportive to the market, but were reduced in the downturn. The price hemorrhaging should now be mostly contained, but prices could slip another three to four cents lower before all the damage is down.

The possibility for July to retrace back above 88 to 89 cents is now the first target. Mill demand has resurfaced as the dwindling level of quality is in great demand and with prices six cents below those of ten days ago – especially now that mill margins are very positive at current levels.

Earlier comments had suggested that a good rain would take at least three cents out of new crop, and that was the reaction of the New York December futures contract – down from 82-83 cents to the 79 cent level. One cannot overemphasize the importance of continued timely rains in Texas.

Yes, there is dancing is the streets now, but without moisture a month from now the dancing shoes will be covered with dust and wilting cotton. What happens tomorrow is more important than today. Nevertheless, we will continue the rain celebration for now.

The price damage has been done. Expectations are for stable to higher prices.

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