Disclosure: Your support helps keep Commodity.com running! We earn a referral fee for some brokers & services we list on this page. Learn more...

Cotton Trade – Learn What The Experts Are Predicting Now

How to Start Trading Cotton
Last Updated:

Risk Warning: Your Capital is at Risk.

Cotton can be traded though various financial instruments. In this guide, we’ll explain how to trade this resource and where you can find a regulated, reputable brokers in .

In a hurry? If you want to get started trading cotton, here are brokers available in to consider:

Disclaimer: Availability subject to regulations.
Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs.

How Can I Trade in Cotton?

Traders have several ways to trade in cotton:

Method of InvestingComplexity Rating (1 = easy, 5 = hard)Storage Costs?Security Costs?Expiration Dates?Management Costs?


Regulated Exchange?
Cotton Futures5
Cotton Options5
Cotton ETFs (ETNs)2
Cotton Shares2
Cotton CFDs3

Cotton Futures

The New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), which is part of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), and the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) offer a contract on cotton that settles into 50,000 pounds of the commodity.

Both contracts are traded electronically and have expiration months of March, May, July, October and December.

Futures are a derivative instrument through which traders make leveraged bets on commodity prices. If prices decline, traders must deposit additional margin in order to maintain their positions. At expiration, the contracts are financially settled on the NYMEX, but physically settled on the ICE.

Cotton Options on Futures

The ICE offers an options contract on cotton futures.

Options are also a derivative instrument that employ leverage to trade in commodities. As with futures, options have an expiration date. However, options also have a strike price, which is the price above which the option finishes in the money.

Options buyers pay a price known as a premium to purchase contracts. An options bet succeeds only if the price of cotton futures rises above the strike price by an amount greater than the premium paid for the contract.

Therefore, options traders must be right about the size and timing of the move in cotton futures to profit from their trades.

Cotton ETFs

These financial instruments trade as shares on exchanges in the same way that stocks do. Two ETFs trade in cotton through futures markets:

iPath Bloomberg Cotton Subindex Total Return ETNiPath Pure Beta Cotton ETN

Shares of Cotton Companies

There are no public companies that are pure-play investments in cotton. However, traders who want some indirect exposure to cotton prices can purchase shares of companies that provide products and services to farmers:

CompanyCurrent PriceDescriptionExchangeFounded
Global agricultural company that provides seeds, genomic and other products to farmers.New York (NYSE)1901
The Mosaic Company
Global agricultural company that sells crop nutrients to farmers.New York (NYSE)2004
Origin Agritech Ltd.
Origin Agritech Ltd. Logo
Agricultural biotechnology company that sells hybrid crop seeds in China.New York (NASDAQ)1997

Contracts for Difference (CFDs)

Another way to trade in cotton is through the use of a contract for difference (CFD) derivative instrument. CFDs allow traders to speculate on the price of cotton. The value of a CFD is the difference between the price of cotton at the time of purchase and its current price.

IMPORTANT: CFDs are not available in the USA due to local regulation, and regulated brokers do not accept US citizens or US residents as clients.

Where Can I Trade Cotton?

Start your research with reviews of these regulated brokers available in that offer trading on cotton and other agricultural commodities.

Loading table...

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 74%-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Reasons to Trade in Cotton

Traders might consider the following reasons for trading in cotton:

  1. Bet on Global Stockpiling
  2. Bet on Strong Global Economy
  3. Bet on Inflation
  4. Bet on Higher Oil Prices

Important: This is not investment advice. We present a number of common arguments for and against investing in this commodity. Please seek professional advice before making investment decisions.

Betting on Global Stockpiling

China has shown a tremendous appetite for cotton and willingness in recent history to build up huge stockpiles. The country has taken these measures to support and subsidize Chinese farmers.

Chinese growth has stalled in recent years creating weakness in many commodity prices. The country has been selling its stockpiles, and this has offset the pickup in demand from Chinese consumers.

In addition, many other countries have diminishing stockpiles. If global growth accelerates, then some of these countries could resume stockpiling.

Is Cotton a Safe Haven?

Commodities such as cotton do well when global economies are growing at a healthy pace. In particular, emerging market countries with higher growth rates are likely to experience big increases in their demand for cotton clothing and cotton products as they grow wealthier.

How Does Cotton Act as an Inflation Hedge?

Trading in cotton and other commodities is a way to hedge against the loss of purchasing power caused by inflation.

As central banks print more money, the purchasing power of fiat currencies (i.e., the dollar, euro and pound) declines. However, there is a finite amount of natural resources, so agricultural commodities such as cotton are more likely to retain their value.

Speculating on Oil Prices

The high correlation of cotton prices with crude oil makes trading in cotton an interesting way to capitalize on a rise in crude prices. Since crude is both an important ingredient in polyester production as well as a cost of cotton farming, cotton may benefit more than crude oil if prices for crude oil move higher.

Rolls of Fabric
Rolls of fabric by Mircea Ploscar from Pixabay

Risks of Trading Cotton

Traders should also consider the risks of trading in cotton:

  1. Sales of Chinese stockpiles of cotton could create a serious overhang on the market.
  2. A fall in price or increase in production of competing materials such as polyester could drive demand away from cotton.
  3. Subsidies of cotton in many countries could lead to overproduction and trade wars.

Important: This is not investment advice. We present a number of common arguments for and against investing in this commodity. Please seek professional advice before making investment decisions.

Cotton Experts

What Do the Experts Think About Cotton?

Experts see the excess supply of cotton as a major headwind for the commodity’s price. They note increased production as the main catalysts for lower prices:

The supply side should remain ample, and if we see production ramp up, cotton will see further losses.

– Lara Magnusen, portfolio manager, Altegris Advisors LLC

Other experts note the sale of China’s stockpiles as a negative market factor:

People used to say that because so much of the world inventory was within China, that it was bullish, because it was never going to come out. Now, we are in the reverse situation.

– Gillian Rutherford, commodities portfolio manager, Pacific Investment Management Co.

However, one analyst believes the pollution caused by polyester manufacturing could provide a glimmer of hope for cotton prices in the years ahead:

China has now forced the closure of numerous polyester manufacturing facilities due to widespread pollution. Increasing cotton’s share of the fiber market will be difficult at best, but as mills and textile operations understand that cotton is the only sustainable fiber being produced then that growth will come.

– O.A. Cleveland, Consulting Economist, Cotton Experts

Further Reading

Plus500 is not available in the US

Legitimate CFD brokers, like Plus500, cannot accept US clients by law

US traders welcome at these brokers:


  • Trade 14+ major crypto coins
  • Includes Bitcoin, Ethereum & Ripple
  • Super simple setup

Accepts traders in the USA

Start Trading at eToro

Forex, Gold & Silver:

  • Trade gold and silver
  • Trade over 90+ currencies
  • Major US broker

Accepts traders in the USA

Start Trading at Forex

No thanks