March 6, 2019 / 7:28 PM / 3 months ago

SOFTS-Cocoa jumps on speculative action; sugar falls to two-month low

 (Recasts throughout; updates prices, adds market activity,
comments, NEW YORK dateline)
    NEW YORK/LONDON, March 6 (Reuters) - Cocoa futures on ICE
surged on Wednesday, with New York cocoa jumping by as much as
5.2 percent on technical buying after breaching buy stops, while
raw sugar fell to a nearly two-month low. 
    * May New York cocoa        settled up $88, or 4.1 percent,
at $2,245 per tonne, its biggest single-day percentage jump
since December, and one day after prices fell to a 2-1/2-month
    * Prices jumped after climbing to a buy stop at $2,195 and
jumped again after quickly ascending to another buy stop at
$2,220, dealers noted and volume data shows. 
    * The five-minute window starting at 11:40 a.m. EST (1640
GMT) was the most active five-minute window, in terms of volume
traded, that the May contract        has seen. 
    * "This was completely algo-driven - people wanted to test
the shorts," one U.S. dealer said. 
    * Speculators boosted their net short position on ICE cocoa
futures to its largest in over two months in the week to Feb.
26, data showed.             
    * "It's still a bear trend. It needs quite a bit of follow
through in order to push higher," the dealer said. 
    * May London cocoa         settled up 66 pounds, or 4.1
percent, at 1,695 pounds per tonne.
    * Hot weather and below average rainfall in most of Ivory
Coast's cocoa regions last week could jeopardize the
April-to-September crop.             

    * May raw sugar        settled down 0.28 cent, or 2.3
percent, at 12.16 cents per lb, after dipping to 12.15 cents,
the lowest since Jan. 7. 
    * Improving weather in top grower Brazil and lower oil
prices pressured sugar futures, dealers said. 
    * Dealers were watching support at around 12 cents. 
    * "Everyone was hanging their hat on dry weather in Brazil
and now rains have come in great quantities," said a dealer. But
he added: "I expect the decline to slow down below 12 cents,
people will engage in purchases 40 points down from here."
    * Crude futures fell Wednesday after U.S. government data
showed a sharp build in crude inventories. Lower oil prices can
encourage Brazilian cane mills to produce more sugar rather than
biofuel ethanol.      
    * May white sugar         settled down $4.80, or 1.4
percent, at $338.10 per tonne.
    * May arabica coffee        settled down 0.95 cent, or 1
percent, at 98.70 cents per lb, giving up much of the prior
session's gains.
    * Last week, prices fell to a more than five-month low of
96.35 cents, weighed down by plentiful supplies.
    * May robusta coffee         settled up $5, or 0.3 percent,
at $1,532 per tonne.

 (Reporting by Ayenat Mersie in New York and Maytaal Angel in
London; editing by Jan Harvey and Chizu Nomiyama)
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