After briefly spiking during the month, cotton prices settled down, ending May at 74.69 cents, 2 cents per pound lower than at the end of April, or about 1.7%, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The seven-market U.S. average cotton spot price, which ended 2016 at just above 69 cents per pound, has increased by more than 5 percent so far this year.
With the exception of a brief surge last August due to tight supplies in South Asia, cotton prices are now near their highest level in more than two and a half years.
Despite monthly increases to the current crop year harvest forecast, mill consumption has kept pace, buoying prices.
Larger USDA crop estimates for China and Brazil helped drive the global harvest estimate up by 600,000 bales. World cotton mill-use is expected to be 2 million bales higher than last year.
The steady increases in production and consumption, together with a limit to the amount of exportable cotton, should help support current price levels in the near future.
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