Volume and Open Interest

The current allocation of volume, open interest, and a lot more cotton futures information, can be found on the ICE futures website under “Featured Reports”.  Volume (viewed above as the green line) is defined as the total daily number of contracts traded in a daily session. The level of volume is often used to gauge the strength of continuing or changing trends. Typical cotton daily volume bounces around between 10,000 and 25,000 contracts.  Through Thursday, September 21, ICE futures showed above average volumes between 22,114 contracts (on September 20) to 32,083 contracts (on September 15).  The Dec’23 and Mar’24 contracts had 62% and 23% of the volume, respectively, as of September 21.

Open interest (the red line above) refers to the number of active positions at the end of the day (not double counting both the buyer and seller). Open interest by contract has a similar front month concentration as does volume, e.g., the Dec’23 and Mar’24 contracts had 53%, and 25% of the open interest, respectively, as of September 21.  Open interest does not fluctuate as much as daily volume, but there are patterns where sharp surges or declines in open interest are associated with sudden rallies or sell-offs, often in high volume.  For the week ending September 21, ICE cotton open interest rose modestly but consistently.

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