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Harvey Drives Up Cotton Prices in Last Days of August

Cotton prices rose sharply in the last few days of August, ending the month at 70.96 cents, almost 4 cents per pound, or about 5.6%, higher than at the end of July, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Uncertainty over the effects from Hurricane Harvey on crops in Texas, where a significant portion of U.S. cotton is grown, caused the sudden price increase. Prior to the storm, bumper crops in the U.S. and abroad were softening prices of the commodity. 

India and Bangladesh, two other major cotton growers, have been suffering their own weather woes. Last month heavy monsoon rains caused serious flooding in the region.

The seven-market U.S. average cotton spot price, which ended 2016 at just above 69 cents per pound, has risen by 2 cents so far this year, with all of the increase happening in the days following Harvey’s landfall on the gulf coast.

With another hurricane heading toward the southeastern United States and threatening another cotton growing region, prices can be expected to continue rising until the damage is assessed.