Cotton Trading / Cotton Traders

Imperium Commodity Search has a network across soft commodities that stretches across the global cotton production, trading and analytics markets.  

Our consultants are regularly trained on product specific areas to situate them in a position where they can respond to hiring needs of our clients and find suitable cotton trading roles for our candidates in a timely fashion. 

What is Cotton? 

Cotton refers to the soft white fibrous exterior of the seeds of the cotton plant.  The cotton plant has been a staple to human development for many millennia and the fibrous surround of the cotton seed has been spun into yarn for the production of textiles and clothing for centuries. 

In commodities, cotton is worth a whopping 50 billion USD per year in global exports, and is a globally traded commodity.  Cotton grows best in warm climates and the major producers of cotton sit across the Central Asian/European belt and the southern states of the USA as well as Latin America. 

Cotton is used in a variety of applications, not just in clothing production.  It can be mixed with other products, both organic and synthetic, to product a range of materials seen in every day life, such as velvet and wool.  Outside of clothing, it is also used in many other forms and is often used in banknotes and book bindings due to its adaptability and strength.  

Cotton is planted in spring like many other soft/agricultural commodities; the blooms (the white fluff) show up around 6 weeks from planting.  The cotton is ‘Ginned’ from the farm at a production site that separates the fibres from the seed.  

How is Cotton traded? 

Cotton is traded on both physical and derivative markets (via the ICE US and NYMEX).  Shipping is via container and the cotton is baled into loaves/units and then wrapped for transportation.  This happens at Gins where the seeds are extracted from the fibre.  The fibre is baled ready for transportation and the seeds get sold in bulk to the animal feed industry.  Some production facilities extract oils and other bi-products from the cotton seeds to be used in feed applications. 

Physical Traders are responsible for buying and selling physical shipments/quantities of cotton from countries of origin and selling this into manufacturers and producers of garments and textiles.  Some traders will also deal with the bi-products, husks and seeds and sell these into agricultural feed traders or producers.  The main customers of physical traders are clothing producers. 

Futures Traders will buy and sell derivative contracts on exchanges for risk management/hedging purposes or for profit in a fund/prop shop.  Futures contracts on cotton are offered on the NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange) and the ICE US (Intercontinental Exchange) 

Where is Cotton traded?  

Cotton is produced in warm climate countries and is primarily found in the southernmost states of the US and Central / Eastern Asia.  The key exporters of cotton (in USD) are: 

China (15.4bn)
USA (8.4bn)
India (8.1bn)
Pakistan (3.5bn)
Vietnam (2.8bn)

Cotton is primarily imported by countries with a high number of textile production companies or facilities.  The largest importers of cotton are:

China (9.9bn)
Bangladesh (6.6bn)
Vietnam (5.1bn)
Turkey (2.5bn)
Indonesia (2.4bn)

Who are the clients? 

Cotton is used in a variety of clothing and homeware applications and is primarily traded into producers/manufacturers of textiles, clothing, bedding and pharmaceuticals.  Cotton is used in the production of pads, buds and sheets for medical use as well as nappies/daipers.  1 Bale of cotton produces around 1000 items of clothing and is thus normally traded by container into large scale producers of clothing products.

What is the Salary for a cotton trader? 

The salary for a cotton trader can vary greatly depending upon which part of the chain the trader is working within.  Cotton traders that work in countries of origin, trading containerised cotton into larger trading houses are often paid small base salaries and earn commissions on negotiated rates for their products. 

Global back to back cotton traders are paid in a similar way to other physical commodity trading personnel, earning a bonus or commission on top of a healthy base salary for their annual PnL or ‘profit’.  The salary for a mid-seniority cotton trader is somewhere in the region of 60-80,000EUR plus bonuses in Europe. 

Imperium Commodity Search – Recruitment Consultants and Headhunters to the global Cotton trading markets 

Imperium Commodity Search is an established headhunter focusing on the global physical and derivative trading markets.  We pride ourselves on maintaining relationships in every niche within commodity trading and have a strong network across cotton trading professionals globally. 

If you would like to learn more about our current vacancies within cotton trading, please contact our team on +44 (0) 203 927 5090 or register your cv online here and one of our Commodity Consultants will contact you ASAP.

To view our current cotton trading jobs and operations / support vacancies click here or contact one of our consultants to discuss current careers / jobs in cotton trading and to discuss your needs in more detail. 

To find out how Imperium Commodity Search can help the growth of your cotton trading desk click here or contact one of our consultants directly here for a confidential discussion