By Julie Wernau

Cotton futures were higher Thursday ahead of a monthly update from the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding supply and demand for cotton.

Cotton for March delivery rose 0.5% to 73.51 cents a pound on the ICE Futures U.S. exchange.

"The monthly supply and demand updates should continue to show strong export demand," said Jack Scoville, vice president of Price Futures Group in Chicago. Mr. Scoville said he expects U.S. cotton production at 16.5 million bales, in line with last month's estimate of 16.52 million bales, with higher exports at 12.4 million bales versus 12.2 million bales in December and ending stocks at 4.4 million bales, lowered from 4.8 million bales last month.

The U.S. is the world's largest exporter of cotton.

The Rose Report said it expects ending stocks only slightly lower at 4.7 million bales, with exports held steady and slightly lower production at 16.4 million bales. In China, the firm said, Beijing Cotton Outlook has estimated that 2016 production in China will increase to 21.8 million bales versus the December projection of 21 million bales, with slightly lower consumption.

In other markets, raw sugar for March was up 0.7% to 20.70 cents a pound. Cocoa for March was up 3.3% at $2,197 a ton, arabica coffee futures for March delivery were off 0.2% at $1.4875 a pound, and frozen concentrated orange juice for March rose 0.1% at $1.841 a pound.

Write to Julie Wernau at julie.wernau@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 12, 2017 11:26 ET (16:26 GMT)

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