About The Author

Jack Scoville

Jack Scoville is an often quoted market analyst in the grain and soft commodities sectors. You will find his commentary throughout the Reuters, Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones, Bloomberg, and Barron's publications. Contact Mr. Scoville at (312) 264-4322

COTTON
General Comments: Cotton closed a little higher yesterday in consolidation trading. Traders were waiting for the export sales report that comes out this morning. The domestic estimates showed a decrease in production and a smaller decrease in demand for ending stocks of 4.10 million bales. World data showed a slight increase in ending stocks to 82.4 million bales. The US economic data has been positive, but the Chinese economic data has not been real positive and demand has been down. There are still many concerns about demand from China and the rest of Asia due to the slow economic return of China in the world market. There are production concerns about Australian and Indian Cotton as both countries are likely to suffer the effects of El Nino starting this Fall.
Overnight News: The Delta will get scattered showers and above normal temperatures. The Southeast will see isolated showers and above normal temperatures. Texas will have scattered showers and near to above normal temperatures. The USDA average price is now 77.14 ct/lb. ICE daily certified stocks are now 5,953 bales, from 5,953 bales yesterday. USDA said that weekly net Upland Cotton export sales were 57,800 bales this year and 13,600 bales next ear. Net Pima sales were 7,700 bales his year and 1,200 bales next year.
Chart Trends: Trends in Cotton are mixed to up with objectives of 83.70 and 84.60 Marh. Support is at 80.50, 80.00, and 78.60 March, with resistance of 83.10, 83.70 and 85.50 March.

FCOJ
General Comments: FCOJ closed lower again yesterday but remain in a trading range. The short term trends are still mixed in this market as USDA showed unchanged 2023-24 production estimates for Florida at 20.5 million boxes and the US at 68.5 million boxes in its reports last week. There are no weather concerns to speak of for Florida right now with the hurricane season all but over and no major storms hitting the state recently. The weather has improved in Brazil with some moderation in temperatures and increased rainfall in the forecast for this week. Brazil got more than expected rains over the weekend. Reports of short supplies in Florida and Brazil are around. Historically low estimates of production in Florida due in part to the hurricanes and in part to the greening disease that have hurt production, but conditions are significantly better now with scattered showers and moderate temperatures.
Overnight News: Florida should get isolated showers. Temperatures will average near normal. Brazil should get scattered showers and above normal temperatures.
Chart Trends: Trends in FCOJ are mixed. Support is at 361.00, 352.00, and 346.00 January, with resistance at 398.00, 405.00, and 408.00 January.

COFFEE
General Comments: Both markets closed higher again yesterday on less than expected rainfall for Brazil production areas. Arabica and Robusta areas are affected by drought and forecasts call for reduced rainfall totals this week to keep ideas of stress alive. Espiritu Santo is the most affected state, but all states are being hurt to some degree. Brazil weather remains uneven for the best crop production, but there are reports of increasing Coffee availability from Vietnam although not enough to meet all of the demand yet. The lack of offers from Asia, mostly from Vietnam but also Indonesia have been a main feature of the market, but the offers are starting to improve.
Overnight News: ICE certified stocks are unchanged today at 0.240 million bags. The ICO daily average price is now 176.27 ct/lb. Brazil will get mostly scattered showers with above normal temperatures. Central America will get mostly dry conditions. Vietnam will see scattered showers. ICE NY said that there were 9 contracts tendered for delivery against December contracts and that total deliveries for the month are 197 contracts.
Chart Trends: Trends in New York are up with objectives of 200.00 and 213.00 March. Support is at 183.00, 179.00, and 175.00 March, and resistance is at 194.00, 197.00 and 200.00 March. Trends in London are up with no objectives. Support is at 2650, 2620, and 2600 January, with resistance at 2785, 2880, and 2910 January.

SUGAR
General Comments: New York and London closed lower again yesterday on selling tied to the Brazil weather and on reports of greatly increased availability of Ukrainian Sugar in the EU. However nearby prices in New York then rallied and closed a little higher for the day. Less than expected rains fell in Brazil over the weekend and Brazil weather forecasts now call for a return to wet in the south and continued scattered showers in central and northern areas this week. The market continues to see stressful conditions in Asian production areas but has noted that India has changed its Ethanol policy to make more Sugar available to the market. The Brail rains is underway now and have been heavy in the south but has been lacking in the north. There are worries about the Thai and Indian production potential due to El Nino. Offers from Brazil are still active but other origins are still not offering or at least not offering in large amounts except for Ukraine, and demand is still strong. Brazil ports are very congested, so shipment of Sugar has been slower.
Overnight News: Brazil will get rains in the south and scattered showers in the north. Temperatures should average above normal. India will get mostly dry conditions and below normal temperatures.
Chart Trends: Trends in New York are down with no objectives. Support is at 2150, 2120, and 2090 March and resistance is at 2310, 2390, and 2400 March. Trends in London are down with objectives of 616.00 March. Support is at 616.00, 613.00, and 610.00 March, with resistance at 648.00, 668.00, and 674.00 March.

COCOA
General Comments: Both markets closed higher yesterday and held to a trading range. Traders are worried about another short production year and these feelings have been enhanced by El Nino that could threaten West Africa crops with hot and dry weather later this year. The main crop harvest comes into focus and as farmers in West Africa report that many areas have too much rain that has caused harvest delays and could lead to disease. Scattered to isolated showers are reported in the region now and the harvest is coming. Ideas of tight supplies remain based on more reports of reduced arrivals in Ivory Coast and Ghana continue,
Overnight News: Isolated showers are forecast for West Africa. Temperatures will be near normal. Malaysia and Indonesia should see scattered showers. Temperatures should average near normal. Brazil will get isolated showers and above normal temperatures. ICE certified stocks are lower today at 4.263 million bags. ICE NY said that 0 notices were posted for delivery against December contracts and that total deliveries for the month are now 894 contracts.
Chart Trends: Trends in New York are mixed. Support is at 4190, 4150, and 4100 March, with resistance at 4310, 4340, and 4370 March. Trends in London are mixed. Support is at 3480, 3440, and 3400 March, with resistance at 3580, 3600, and 3630 March.

DJ Harmattan Wind Arrives in Nigeria’s Cocoa-Producing Regions
By Obafemi Oredein
Special to Dow Jones Newswires
IBADAN, Nigeria-The Harmattan season has started in Nigeria’s two cocoa producing regions and should enhance the development of cocoa, industry officials and traders said Thursday.
“The Harmattan has begun in the southeast cocoa regions. It will hasten the ripening of cocoa,” said Mazi Uche, an official of the Cocoa Association of Nigeria in southeastern Abia state.
Tunji Adebola, a trader in Ibadan, capital of Oyo state in the key southwest cocoa region, said the Harmattan began blowing into the region on Monday, adding that it will aid the fermentation and drying of cocoa beans leading to better-quality cocoa beans.
The Harmattan is a cold, dusty wind that comes from the Sahara Desert and blows over West Africa. It usually starts in December each year and ends in January-March.
However, if it becomes harsh, it dries up moisture rapidly from the soil in cocoa plantations and slows the development of cocoa pods, Adebola said.
He said that attention should be paid to wether the wind becomes harsh and damages cocoa in the coming weeks, especially at the end of December and beginning of January.
According to Adebola, the Harmattan is not yet causing damage to cocoa, and is instead expected to bring a lot of early morning dews, which add more moisture to the soil in cocoa farms and plantations.
Nigeria’s southwest and southeast cocoa regions are currently harvesting the 2023-24 main cocoa crop, which industry officials and traders said hasn’t developed well so far.
Prolonged heavy rainfall resulted in an outbreak of the black pod disease attack on cocoa pods and damaged substantial cocoa, an official of the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria said. The official added that cocoa may still do well toward the end of the main crop period, in January or February.

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