ICE Cotton Update 26-Feb-2020
Posted : February 26, 2020

Cotton falls more than 1% as coronavirus spreads beyond China

Cotton futures extended losses on Tuesday, after touching a more than two-month low in the previous session, as a sharp rise in the new coronavirus cases outside China sparked worries of a global economic slowdown.

Cotton contracts for May fell 0.78 cent, or 1.2%, to 66.78 cents per lb as of 1:28 p.m. EST (1828 GMT). It traded within a range of 66.52 and 67.75 cents a lb.

Cotton fell 2.1% on Monday, in biggest one-day percentage decline since Jan. 21, on the virus woes.

"It's just trading on some of the broader big-picture markets with the coronavirus going around," said Bailey Thomen, cotton risk management associate with INTL FCStone. 

The outbreak's impact on cotton exports in the longer term is a concern, Thomen added.

Wall Street added to losses after a World Health Organization official said the coronavirus was "a rapidly
escalating epidemic."

Beyond mainland China, the virus has spread to about 30 countries and territories, among which outbreaks in Iran, Italy and South Korea are of particular concern.

The disease has infected 80,000 people and killed 2,663 in China.

But the WHO says the epidemic there has peaked and been declining since Feb. 2.

However, "since prices have dropped so low, we are finding some good value discovery at these prices and cotton is being purchased in the physical market," Thomen added, citing that as a factor that prevents prices from falling further.

Total futures market volume fell by 51,226 to 25,529 lots. Data showed total open interest fell 1,805 to 196,787 contracts in the previous session. Certificated cotton stocks deliverable as of Feb. 24 totaled 34,062 480-lb bales, unchanged from 34,062 in the previous session.

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