NEW YORK Dec 31 Cotton ended 2012 as the third
worst-performing commodity market of the year, falling 17
percent from last year as the market struggled with oversupply
and overall sluggish demand.
Even so, fibers closed the fourth quarter on a positive
note, rising 8.6 percent after a late year-end rally. That was
its best performance since the first quarter of 2011 when prices
soared to above $2.20 per lb, highs last seen during the U.S.
Civil War in the 1860s.
The buying in the final weeks of 2012 was fueled by hopes
that China, the world's largest consumer and producer, will beef
up its buying in 2013 and expectations that farmers will plant
less cotton in the spring in favor of higher-priced grains.
The double-digit percentage loss this year comes after
prices plunged 36.6 percent in 2011.
(Reporting By Josephine Mason)