By Debarati Roy
Feb. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Cotton topped $2 a pound in New York
for the first time ever as accelerating global growth boosted
demand for garments manufactured in China, the world's biggest
consumer and importer, amid shrinking global supplies.
China's apparel exports in January surged 34 percent from a
year earlier to $13.38 billion, the Customs Bureau said this
week. Stockpiles monitored by ICE Futures U.S. have plunged 84
percent since June 1. Flooding in Australia and Pakistan and
drought in Russia and other parts of Europe have reduced output.
Textile mills are buying more fiber as the global economy
recovered from the worst recession since World War II. Costs may
rise for U.S. retailers including Gap Inc., J.C. Penney Co.
because cotton has more than doubled in the past 12 months. Olah
Inc., a U.S. apparel manufacturer that supplies Gap, said it
raised prices for "several products."
"The bulls have gone berserk, and it looks like they want
prices to go higher," said Sid Love , the president of Joe Kropf
& Sid Love Consulting Services LLC in Overland Park, Kansas.
"China's demand still remains strong."
Cotton for May delivery rose by the exchange limit of 7
s, or 3.6 percent, to settle at a record $2.0193 on ICE
res U.S. at 2:41 p.m. in New York. Prices have gained 39
ent in 2011, the most of any of the 19 commodities in the
son Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index.
"There was short-covering by textile mills," said Mike
ens, an independent trader in Mandeville, Louisiana.
Trading in cotton options was halted by the exchange, which
rmined that the synthetic price change for contracts was at
t two times the daily limit, ICE said today in a statement.