The economist’s tea leaves say….

“Give me a one-armed economist!” That was the exasperated plea of former U.S. President Harry Truman in the late 1940s. Truman grumbled that whenever his economists advised him, they would inevitably say, “On the one hand…but, on the other…,” accounting for the ambiguities of economic indicators.

The Nobel-Prize-winning Irish playwright, G. Bernard Shaw, said, “If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion.”

Economic prognosticators, who are really interpreting and predicting collective human behavior, infamously rely on their simplifying assumptions. An economist may assume an efficiently-functioning free market, characterized by “perfect information” for all players. He is also apt to freeze certain economic elements to isolate the effects of specific forces, assuming “ceteris paribus” (all else being constant).

Of course, no one has perfect information, free and efficient markets don’t exist, and innumerable simultaneous forces influence human economic behavior. All of that conspires to confound economic predictions – whether about the global economy or the future price of cotton in Karachi.

On the one hand, certain signs clearly point toward economic recovery and a more robust cotton market. In the U.S., the world’s largest consumer economy, employment has grown in each of the first four months of 2010, returning more than 500,000 jobs to an economy that had lost 3.5 million. In April, U.S. manufacturing experienced its greatest growth in six years. In March, major U.S. clothing retail chains saw their sales jump a surprising 12 to 24% compared to March of 2009. The economies of China and India both grew by almost 9% last year and are heating up in 2010. China may well raise its cotton-import quota by 60%, to 3 million tons.

On the other hand, fears abound that the debt crisis in Greece could ripple through Europe and the world and reverse a fragile economic recovery. That, and an apparent glitch in high-speed computer trading, caused U.S. stocks to lose more than $1 trillion in value on one May afternoon. To support its own textile industry, the Indian government suspended India’s exports of raw cotton and yarn.

All told, projections are for healthy growth in cotton trading this year, with 114 million bales of production worldwide (25M MT), up from 102 million bales (22M MT) in ’09/’10.  Pent-up demand for cotton goods appears to be breaking through the logjam as the global economy begins its swing in a positive direction.

But just keep in mind the words of my favorite economist, John Kenneth Galbraith: “Economics is extremely useful…as a form of employment for economists.”

Leave a Reply

Marketing Stories
Market Analysis

Shurley on Cotton: Not Surprisingly, Market Improvement Slows Down

March 2, 2015

The market is still full of uncertainties, and this recent slowdown might just be a signal that the market needs to take a breather.

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.

OA Cleveland
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.

don shurley
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

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.

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

Shurley on Cotton: Not Surprisingly, Market Improvement Slows Down

March 2, 2015

The market is still full of uncertainties, and this recent slowdown might just be a signal that the market needs to take a breather.

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.

Marketing

Cotton Inc. Sets Schedule for Risk Management Seminars

February 2, 2015

Cotton Incorporated will begin its series of Cotton Price Risk Management Seminars on February 10 in Memphis, TN, with other sessions scheduled for Maricopa, AZ and Lubbock, TX.

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.

Marketing

The Passing of Dukes Wooters

January 30, 2015

J. Dukes Wooters, Jr., retired chairman of Cotton Incorporated and the driving force behind the Seal of Cotton and the industry’s branded marketing efforts, passed away following a short illness. He was 97.

Marketing

Blake Lauritsen Is 2014 Marketer of the Year

January 30, 2015

Blake Lauritsen’s attention to commodity markets, the global cotton industry, and good business sense – plus a bit of luck, he’ll admit – earned him the 2014 Marketer of the Year award.

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.