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Cotton futures retreat from a 2-year high

March 26, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — Cotton prices fell nearly 3 percent Wednesday, a day after reaching a two-year high.

Cotton for May delivery fell 2.5 cents, or 2.6 percent, to 91.7 cents a pound.

The price of cotton hit a two-year high Tuesday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported a steep drop in cotton production in 2013 because of poor weather. U.S. cotton production was 12.87 million bales last year, versus the 17.29 million bales the year before.

The U.S. is not the world’s largest cotton producer but it is by far the world’s largest exporter of the fiber, selling the commodity to countries like China, Turkey and Bangladesh to fuel those countries’ clothing industries. China itself imported more than 11 million bales of cotton in 2013, according to data from the National Cotton Council.

In other agricultural commodities, May wheat fell 11.5 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $6.97 a bushel and corn fell 2 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $4.85 a bushel. Soybeans rose 12 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $14.40 a bushel.

In metals, gold fell $8, or 0.6 percent, to $1,303.40 an ounce and silver fell 20 cents, or 1 percent, to $19.78 an ounce.

Platinum for April delivery fell $14.40, or 1 percent, to $1,406.50 an ounce while palladium fell $8.25, or 1 percent, to $781.15 an ounce. Copper fell 4 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $2.96 a pound.

Energy prices were mixed. Crude oil for May delivery rose $1.07 to $100.26 a barrel while natural gas fell 1 cent to $4.40 per thousand cubic feet. Wholesale gasoline futures rose 3 cents to $2.91 a gallon. Heating oil was flat at $2.92 a gallon.

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