Cotton Futures


Cotton has been one of the primary materials used in the production of textiles for well over 7000 years. In today's modern landscape it is used to create things like fishnets, and even gunpowder. Cotton futures trading is significantly impacted by the fact that the United States, India and China are all responsible for the production of over 60% of the cotton used all over the world. Cotton prices continue to increase thanks to the fact that out of all the fiber that is in use around the globe on a daily basis cotton accounts for over 30% of it.


Cotton production in the United States dates back hundreds of years, prior to the US Civil War. Out of all of the types of cotton that are produced in the United States on a regular basis, the most popular type is called American Upland. This one specific type of cotton accounts for almost all cotton crop that is grown in the United States every year at 97% of total production.


  • China, the United States, India and Pakistan represent the four major cotton producing countries all over the world.
  • Of those four, the United States is responsible for the production of a full one third of the cotton that is being traded. As a result, they are the world's leading exporter in cotton futures trading.
  • Annual cotton industry profits in the United States commonly reach over $25 billion dollars.
  • Additionally, cotton futures trading accounts for 200,000 jobs in the United States alone.


In the United States, cotton is traditionally produced in the southern United States and in parts of California. Depending on the weather in these areas and the time of the year at which the weather starts to get warm enough, production can begin as early as March. Also dependent on the weather, the harvest can last all the way into December if the weather stays warm enough for a long enough period of time. Cotton futures trading happens in two different markets: on the NYMEX and on the NYBOT. Both types of cotton futures have the same delivery dates despite the fact that they are being traded on two different markets.

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Contract Specifications  

Contract SymbolContract UnitPrice Quotation
ICT50,000 lbscents per pound
Trading ExchangeTrading HoursTick Value
ICE21:00 - 14:20 (NY)$0.01/lb = $5.00

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This material has been prepared by a sales or trading employee or agent of RJO Futures and is, or is in the nature of, a solicitation. This material is not a research report prepared by RJO Futures Research Department. By accepting this communication, you agree that you are an experienced user of the futures markets, capable of making independent trading decisions, and agree that you are not, and will not, rely solely on this communication in making trading decisions.