By Keith Brown, DTN Contributing Cotton Analyst

April 16, 2021

There was a huge disparity in the spread activity between old- and new-crop markets Friday. The obvious difference we would attribute to speculators rolling out to the December contract. With delivery for spot May one week from this Monday, and the potential for worsening adverse weather for West Texas, it appeared some traders preferred to bypass the July futures altogether and to take their chances out in the new-crop contracts.

Friday afternoon, CFTC will issue its weekly Commitment of Traders report. At last count, managed-money speculators were still net long despite the severity of the big price spill off the February high. Incredibly, that group has been net-long cotton for well over a full year.

As a reminder, USDA will publish its crop progress data on Monday at 4 p.m. CDT, followed by weekly export sales on Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m. CDT. Then next Friday is the last day for traders, who wish to avoid the spot notice period, to exit that futures contract.

Last week on the April crop report, USDA raised its export forecast. That action put the current 2020-2021 sales pace in line with normal levels. Thus, cumulative sales for the 2020-2021 season stand at 14.97 million bales, compared to 15.287 million last year. The five-year average is 12.779 million. Current sales represent 95.0% of USDA’s forecast for the marketing year versus a five-year average of 96.3%.

At the end of Friday’s session, May cotton finished down 1.31 cents on the day, up 2.83 cents for the week and 5.01 cents higher on the year. Today, May cotton closed at 83.71 cents, down 1.31 cents; July settled at 85.03 cents, down 1.23 cents; and December ended at 82.53 cents, off .55 cent. Friday’s estimated volume was 27,913 contracts. (Source: