Supply shortages fueled cotton's 100 percent price rise over the past year  The U.S. is one of the world's biggest producers and exporters of cotton, but its supply of the fiber is "sold out," according to a shippers group, highlighting the supply shocks that have sent cotton futures up more than 100 percent over the past year.

Australia, the world's fourth-biggest cotton shipper, is said to already have sold more than 80 percent of its coming cotton harvest. Normally, forward sales average around 50 percent to 60 percent at this time before a harvest, Phil Ryan, a director of the Australian Cotton Shippers Association, affirmed in an interview.

"The U.S. is the biggest exporter in the world and they are sold out," exclaimed Ryan in an interview.

Cotton futures are trading near record levels on the supply shortages; on Tuesday, the most-active contract for May delivery ended at a 56 premium on December's price, which could indicate a near-term supply squeeze, Bloomberg reports.

Luke Matthews, a commodity strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, said the rise in cotton prices is prompting people to buy the fiber before it potentially increases further.

"Consumers around the world have clearly taken the view that they need to lock in supplies before the market potentially moves higher," asserted Matthews. 
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