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ICE cotton futures inched up on Wednesday but were stuck in a small range because of a lack of demand for the natural fiber and improving crop conditions in the United States. The cotton contract for December settled up 0.35 cent, or 0.60%, at 58.21 cents per lb as of 02:18 p.m. EDT (1849 GMT), after two straight sessions of losses. It traded within a range of 57.84 and 58.79 cents a lb.

Cotton drew support from external markets but was still stuck within a tight range, said Bailey Thomen, cotton risk management associate with INTL FCStone.

Cotton prices have moved within a 2-cent range in the past week, looking for direction after lackluster export sales and improving planting conditions in West Texas, one of the largest cotton-growing regions in the United Sates.

"People would like to see some good (export sales) numbers that we have not seen for the last couple of weeks. But the global textile industry is suffering right now and that is weighing on the demand for cotton," Thomen said.

Weekly data from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) showed net sales of 146,000 running bales reported last week, down nearly 11% from the previous week. Total futures market volume fell by 11,248 to 17,803 lots. Data showed total open interest gained 979 to 223,107 contracts in the previous session.

Copyright Reuters, 2019

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