Cotton has been in the global marketplace for at least 3,500 years. Archeological research has uncovered cotton fibers on different sides of the globe in India and Peru. The Persians, the Romans, and the British were among the great empires that valued, traded, and spread this universal commodity. The Industrial Revolution further magnified cotton's economic status. The spinning jenny, spinning machine, and steam engine transformed cotton, and cotton, in turn, changed world trade. When the machine age reached the farm with the invention of a machine to separate cotton fiber from the seed -the cotton gin- the economic power of cotton underwent another period of enormous expansion. And in the midst of the mechanization and movement of production, the boll weevil served as a reminder of the vulnerability of any crop commodity to natural disaster.
The cotton industry has experienced enormous farming, manufacturing, and marketing changes in its 3,500 year history. While many crop commodities (such as coffee) are more land and climate specific, cotton can grow nearly anywhere that has the requisite 200 frost-free days and the basic water supply. The cash market is ever shifting as conditions favor different growths in different countries and technology continues to improve the manufacture, marketing, and even genetic structure of cotton. Government involvement in pricing and production as well as international and regional trade agreements also contribute to market changes.
Cotton futures, IntercontinentalExchange (ICE), symbol CT. The contract size is 50,000 lbs. The minimum tick is 0.01, worth $5.00 per contract.
Trade electronically on the ICE platform from 9:00 p.m. U.S. ET to 2:20 p.m. U.S. ET.
Primary trading months for cotton futures and options are March, May, July, October, and December.