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ICE cotton hits seven-week low, U.S.-China trade talks in focus

May 2 (Reuters) - ICE cotton futures fell to a seven-week low on Thursday, as investors await the outcome of trade talks between the United States and China, while a firm dollar further weighed on the prices.

* The most-active cotton contract on ICE Futures U.S. July

settled down 1.26 cent, or 1.64 percent, at 75.45 cents per lb. It traded within a range of 75.37 and 76.59 cents a lb.

* The second-month contract fell to its lowest level since March 14 at 75.37 per cents.

* "A lot depends on the trade agreement and what specifically is in there for the USA and I think the stronger dollar has helped our competitors sell cotton because of the currency," said Jim Nunn, owner of Tennessee cotton brokerage Nunn Cotton.

* The United States and China are nearing a trade deal that would roll back a portion of the $250 billion in U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods, Politico reported on Wednesday after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the two countries completed "productive" talks in Beijing.

* The dollar index was up 0.2 percent. A stronger greenback makes commodities priced in dollars, such as cotton, more expensive for holders of other currencies.

* The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported net sales of 144,800 running bales (RB) for 2018-19, down 39 percent from the previous week, for the week ended April 25.

* Exports of 292,600 RB were down 8 percent from the previous week and 19 percent from the prior four-week average.

* "Export sales were OK, they weren't as big as last week but they are still pretty good and we're continuing to make sales," said Sid Love, commodity trading adviser at Kansas-based Sid Love Consulting.

* Total futures market volume fell by 7,438 to 28,056 lots. Data showed total open interest gained 3,134 to 215,491 contracts in the previous session.

* Certificated cotton stocks <CERT-COT-STX> deliverable as of May 1 totaled 67,873 480-lb bales, up from 64,241 in the previous session.

(Reporting by Eileen Soreng and Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Cooney)