March 14, 2012 / 7:18 PM / 5 years ago

NY cotton closes lower on investor sales

* Specs push cotton lower, but trade supports
    * Market awaits USDA export data

    NEW YORK, March 14 (Reuters) - Cotton futures finished
lower on Wednesday on investor sales but trade and consumer
buying helped the market rebound from a key support area,
analysts said.	
    The benchmark May contract on ICE Futures U.S. fell
0.90 cent to finish at 87.14 cents per lb, dealing from         
  87.05 to 88.59 cents.  	
    Volume traded during the day came to nearly 15,000 lots,
almost 40 percent under the 30-day norm, Thomson Reuters data
showed.	
    "We're still under (the gun) from these bearish
fundamentals," said Mike Stevens, an independent analyst in
Louisiana, referring to a steady rise in production and
weakening consumption of the fiber.	
    The U.S. Agriculture Department recently increased its world
2011/12 cotton production forecast to 123.64 million 480-lb
bales from 123.34 million, and cut its projection of world
consumption to 108.72 million bales from 109.71 million. 	
    It upped its forecast of world end-of-season stocks to 62.32
million from 60.77 million bales. The 2011/12 marketing year
ends on July 31. 	
    Technically, speculators tried to press the May contract
below the March 12 intraday low of 87.01 cents to see whether
automatic sell orders could be hit under the 87 cents area,
which has held since late December 2011.	
    "The specs are trying to push it below support and get to
those stops," a dealer said.    	
    The market will await the USDA's weekly export data on
Thursday to gauge whether cotton sales remain robust, especially
to top consumer China, the leading buyer of U.S. cotton.	
    The fiber trade is also waiting for news from India, which
is prohibiting fresh cotton exports after a week of policy
disputes. 	
    India is the world's No. 2 cotton producer and the biggest
exporter after the United States.	
    In two weeks, the market will be looking at the USDA's
annual potential plantings report, which will set the table for
U.S. cotton sowings in 2012.	
	
 (Reporting by Rene Pastor; Editing by Dale Hudson)

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