Price of Cotton Hits Its Highest Mark in 140 Years

By: Shane McAuliffe Email
By: Shane McAuliffe Email

Despite a down economy, the price of cotton has hit a historical high.

The price of cotton settled at $1.13 a pound on Monday, this just two days after hitting its highest price in 140 years.

On Friday, cotton was selling for $1.19 a pound, a price that has never been recorded by the New York Cotton Exchange which has been around since 1870.

According to the Mississippi Historical Society, cotton's all time historical high was around 1863. During the Civil War cotton could bring in as much as $1.89 a pound.

Floods in Pakistan and heavy rains in China have drowned the cotton crop in that part of the word, causing the price to skyrocket 56 percent in the past three months.

The bad news is most Texas cotton farmers sold their cotton crop through forward contracting. That means their current crop is selling at pre-spike prices. But if the trend continues, producers could get more for their cotton in 2011.

"Growers have an opportunity because of this market phenomenon that is happening now, to lock in possibly higher prices for next year," said Texas A&M professor John Robinson.

Despite the higher prices, consumers shouldn't see too much of an impact from the cost increase but Professor Robinson did go on to say that yarn is seeing its biggest rise in cost due to the shortage.

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