March 1 (Reuters) - Raw sugar futures closed lower for the third straight session Thursday, backtracking from a recent four-month high, as investors sold amid the expectation for coming bumper supplies.
Arabica coffee changed direction and closed higher. U.S. cocoa likewise ended firmer.
2:00 PM SETTLE NET PCT LOW HIGH CURRENT
CHNG CHNG VOL Sugar MAR 25.66 0 0.0% 00.00 00.00 Sugar MAY 24.85 -0.16 -0.6% 24.45 25.00 47,739 Cocoa MAR 2392 9 0.4% 2,334 2,396 12 Cocoa MAY 2366 32 1.4% 2,311 2,377 8,548 Coffee MAR 204 0.85 0.4% 202.25 203.15 45 Coffee MAY 204.1 0.85 0.4% 201.85 205.10 10,416 TOTAL MARKET VOLUME
CURRENT 30D AVG 250D AVG ICE SUGAR 94,699 114,585 88,060 ICE COCOA 13,704 24,293 19,010 ICE COFFEE 15,729 24,127 19,688
* May dropped 0.16 cent to end at 24.85 cents per lb.
* Market down on investor sales - brokers.
* Sugar weakened by the prospect of bumper supplies later in the year.
* Country Hedging Inc analyst Sterling Smith said bumpers cane harvests are seen coming out of No. 1 producer Brazil and No. 2 grower India.
* That should keep sugar prices "under control," said Smith.
* Market digested delivery of 880,151 tonnes of sugar against March expiration, with Cargill taking delivery of sweetener.
* Key May arabica coffee climbed 0.85 cent at $2.0410 per lb.
* March/May spread closed at a discount of 0.1 cent per lb, unchanged from Wednesday.
* Market turned higher late in the session along with the commodity complex, after following it lower earlier - traders.
* Light roaster buying at the lows helped prevent deeper losses earlier in the session - traders.
* The International Coffee Organization cut its forecast for the global coffee crop in 2011/12 to 128.5 million 60-kg bags, down from a previous estimate of 130.9 million.
* Brazil's key coffee zones were much drier than usual in February, helping stop bacterial halo blight disease in its tracks but causing concern that developing coffee beans may not have enough water to swell out to an optimal size.
* May cocoa futures rose $32, or 1.4 percent, to finish at $2,366 a tonne.
* Market turned higher with a lift from commercial buying at the lows and the firm sterling against the U.S. dollar - traders.
* The move higher, in the face of the weak commodity complex, was viewed as technically positive as the May contract rose near the 100-day moving average at $2,395 per tonne - traders.
* Indonesia's cocoa bean exports from its main growing island of Sulawesi slipped 20 percent in February from the same month a year ago, and was down 11 percent from the previous month - industry data.
* Swiss chocolatier Lindt & Spruengli said the spectre of rising joblessness was dampening consumer sentiment and Europe's debt crisis made the coming year hard to assess, yet the firm stuck to its growth target. (Reporting by Marcy Nicholson and Rene Pastor)