For the most part, the United States “has an early cotton crop everywhere,” said Cleveland. “It should get into the pipeline quicker than it usually does. That could slow (the market) down but the other factors tend to support the market and push for (prices) more than $1.”

All in all, “we have very — and emphasize very — strong prices well into 2011. Textile margins have become very tight but spinners still report good business. Yarn mills are very active.”

For the U.S. consumer, the price of textile goods at the retail level continues to drop.

“I think we’ll see consumers remaining very active in purchasing textile and cotton-rich goods,” said Cleveland. “It’s very interesting to see the textile mill margins tightening at the same time retail prices are dropping. There’s a squeeze on the yarn mills.”

Stevens, too, finds the market intriguing. “Technically, we’re overbought. But we’re heading higher on a lack of resistance. If you look at the lack of volume each morning, we’re up 100 to 150 points on almost no volume, at all. Buyers have to bid prices up to find a seller.

“For now, we’re pretty much on a one-way street with no sign of a top. Until we can close below a previous day’s low, you can’t even make the buyers nervous. To even hint at a possible near-term top, the market needs to actually close below last week’s low. That’s now at 90 cents — and we’re 400 points above that.”

From a technical point of view, Stevens sees nothing “to keep the market from going well over $1. Of course, sooner or later, we’ll get a sell-off. However, there should be excellent support for any sell-off into the 88-cent to 86-cent area.

“The only way mills have been able to buy anything and live with it is they’ve been buying cotton on call and will fix the prices later. They know, sooner or later, we’ll get a sell-off.”

Resistant weeds

Before Mid-South growers move back into major cotton acreage, they’ll need to factor in the cost of dealing with a burgeoning population of glyphosate-resistant weeds.

With current wheat, corn and bean prices “it will take 90 cent cotton” to bump up Delta cotton acreage, said Kenneth Hood, a north Mississippi producer who was also on the call.

“This resistant-weed thing in cotton is very, very serious,” said Hood. “I farm 100 miles south of Memphis and the resistant-weed problem is continually growing into a wider and wider area. Two or three years ago, you didn’t see much of it. Today, (resistant weeds) are in almost every cotton field. The cost of production is going to affect us.”