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The Cotlook A Index has long been regarded as the recognized barometer of world prices. It is used by the United Nations Committee on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) as a component of its agricultural price measure.
It has been used since the nineteen seventies as the preferred price measure by the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), the “United Nations of cotton”, as the device by which that body follows price developments. The ICAC has developed a price-forecasting model which attempts to predict the season’s average level of the Cotlook A Index as a guide to its member countries.
Since 1985, the Cotlook A Index has been the principal ingredient of the US Commodity Credit Corporation’s Upland ‘marketing loan’ (whereby US farmers borrow money from the government with their cotton as collateral, and repay the loan at a lower rate, if a value based on the Cotlook A Index is below the loan value). Since 1990, the US ‘competitive adjustment procedures’ have used the Cotlook Indices in order to determine additional payments to US domestic mills and exporters. From June 2008 these values referred to C/F Far Eastern values. The second of these procedures, known as ‘Step 2’, was withdrawn in July 2006.
Following the break-up of the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan’s Ministry for Foreign Economic Relations and equivalent bodies in some other Central Asian republics have determined their export selling prices by reference either to the Cotlook A Index or an average of the A Index and its Uzbek component. The A Index has also been used to establish prices payable to farmers in some of those countries.
The foregoing are a few examples of how the A Index is used. Reference to the A Index in establishing prices can be found in many other countries, stretching from Latin America to China. In China, several studies conducted by Beijing University on behalf of the government have employed the A Index in one way or another.
The international cotton market is dependent on the New York futures market, which is, without a doubt, the principal tool for hedging price risk and price discovery. However, only US cotton is tenderable against the New York contract and, at times, history has demonstrated that divergences can arise between New York, which is subject to speculative influences, and actual cotton values. This is where the Cotlook A Index has played a vital role in portraying price trends over the years. The A Index and New York tend, over the long term, to move in a similar direction but there have been significant deviations, with New York sometimes trading above or below the Index. The Cotlook A Index is a price barometer and is proved to have become a useful indicator of where values are on the day. For part of any year (starting in about March through to July 31), two values are produced, one to reflect nearby shipment offers, the other to indicate Northern Hemisphere new crop values.
Cotlook Limited and its predecessors have been monitoring world cotton prices for some ninety years. In 1966, the Cotlook A Index was introduced. It has gone through many changes over the years, to reflect changing patterns of trade and cotton qualities. It began as a SM 1-1/16″ value but is today a Middling 1-1/8″ price.
The A Index began as a CIF Liverpool value in the days when the UK still retained a sizeable spinning industry. It later became a CIF N. Europe value, as the industry in the UK fell into decline. Most recently (with effect from August 1, 2004) the A Index changed emphasis by representing offering prices based on CFR Far Eastern main ports terms. An Index based on CFR Far Eastern values has been compiled and published since March 2003.
Today, the Cotlook A Index is compiled from the cheapest five offering prices to mills of a basket of growths (currently 19), on the assumption that these are likely to be the cottons most frequently traded on the day in question. The mechanism of averaging the cheapest quotations has been proved to be a reliable method of calculating the Index for more than fifty years.
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Access is available to ICE US Futures 10 minute delayed feed via our website. The source of the data is ICE Futures US and no data may be copied or disseminated without the express written permission of the ICE Exchange. Any misuse by users will be reported directly to ICE Futures US.
Cotlook’s Special Edition is published to coincide with the Annual Plenary Meeting of the International Cotton Advisory Committee and focuses on issues affecting the raw cotton and textile trade in the country or region where the meeting is held. The inaugural issue was in 1992 when the ICAC met in Liverpool. The Special Edition is circulated free of charge to Cotlook Subscribers and to those who attend the ICAC meeting.
Periodically, throughout the year, Cotlook publishes Special Features, which focus on an individual market or topic of interest. An example is the Long Staple Special Feature, which is published annually around the middle of the year. Cotlook Special Features, published since 1997, are available free of charge to Cotlook subscribers but can also be purchased individually. For details please visit the Shop on our website or contact our subscriptions department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Apart from weekly reports in Cotton Outlook, some of which contain yarn price information, we also publish the Cotlook Yarn Index. The Index is designed to monitor movement in yarn prices and is derived by calculating an average from a set of FOB prices for ring spun carded 20’s and 30’s from five origins (weighted to reflect exports of all yarns from each individual country) and is expressed as a percentage of the comparable value for 2005.
Emphatically not! Cotlook’s role is to monitor and report the A Index impartially and accurately. The Cotlook A Index is compiled solely by the staff of Cotlook, who are barred from engaging in any trading activity in cotton. Their integrity has been proven over the five or so decades in which the A Index has been compiled.
Cotlook Limited is a private company that publishes specialised information services related to the cotton industry. It is wholly owned by The Outlook Group Limited.
Cotlook is the leading commercial provider of international cotton market information and analysis and is the source of the Cotlook A Index. The company’s origins stretch back over ninety years and its staff have developed an unrivalled reputation for their expertise, impartiality and integrity. Cotlook offers services mainly in English, but also provides on-line publications in other languages.