Stephen Gandel, of CNNMoney thinks Cotton is in a Minor Bubble
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Why It's Hot
Cotton prices have nearly doubled in the past year to 80¢ a pound. The world has been using more but producing less. Last year's U.S. cotton production dropped to 12.2 million bales, the smallest crop in 20 years. And rising populations are causing nations like China and India to devote more land to foodstuffs and less to cotton.
Why It's Worrisome
The two-year run has given farmers plenty of time to ramp up production, which means more cotton will soon be on the market and lower prices will follow. The USDA estimates that U.S. production will hit 18.6 million bales this year, up 50% from a year ago.
Verdict: A Minor Bubble
Analyst Sharon Johnson of First Capital Group says cotton has traded around 50¢ a pound for much of the past decade. When cotton has spiked above 80¢, it hasn't stayed there for long. "Prices are overvalued," she says.