ICE cotton for a second day on Wednesday inched up as trade buying carry on while dealers waited for government and industry reports due within the several days. Trading volumes were subdued with the benchmark March cotton contract on ICE Futures U.S. closing up 0.12 cent, or 0.1 percent, at 85.52 cents a lb.
March prices traded in a tight range of less than one cent throughout the session, supported by the 20-day moving average but never breached the 14-day moving average.
Mounting worries over economic stability in emerging markets has kept markets volatile in recent weeks.
Dealers braced for Thursday's U.S. export sales data, after two weeks of reports shocked the market as buyers were not put off by high prices.
Traders, growers, and millers eyed the National Cotton Council's annual meeting on Saturday, when the market will get its first official insight into this year's cotton plantings.
The USDA's monthly supply and demand report due on Monday was largely expected to show a cut in U.S. inventories.
Tight supplies in the United States, the worldâ€™s top exporter, have kept traders buying and futures buoyed.
There's been short-covering and some trade covering, as people are still hunting high-grade cotton, said Keith Brown, president of commodity firm Keith Brown and Co in Moultrie, Georgia. (But) there's a bit of lethargy in the market until all these numbers come out.
Mill buying was subdued with the Lunar New Year holiday in top consumer China underway. Meanwhile, exchange supplies continued their climb to the highest since early December.
According to the recent exchange data compiled by Reuters, ICE stocks totaled 188,800 bales on Tuesday, up from about 34,100 at the start of January.
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