June 20, 2018 / 6:22 PM / a month ago

SOFTS-Cocoa surges to three-week highs, spot London premium firms

 (Rewrites throughout, updates prices; adds comment, NEW YORK
dateline, details)
    NEW YORK/LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) - Cocoa futures on ICE
rallied more than 3 percent to three-week highs on Wednesday,
after flooding in the commercial capital of Ivory Coast spurred
speculative buying and the spot contract in London extended its
premium over September.
    Sugar and coffee prices also rose, along with larger
commodities that rebounded. The 19-market Thomson Reuters
CoreCommodity Index           rose for the first time in six
sessions.
    
    COCOA
    * September London cocoa         settled up 63 pounds, or
3.6 percent, at 1,840 pounds per tonne, after touching 1,842
pounds, its highest since May 31. 
    * The July premium over September LCCN8-U8 rose to a
session high of 14 pounds, a sharp move from a discount of 78
pounds four sessions prior.
    * The dramatic shift in the spread forced many market
participants who held short positions to buy, while it also
boosted market sentiment as it could potentially indicate strong
demand for July delivery, traders said.
    * "(It) gives quite a bullish tone to the market," one
dealer said. "That might bring back some interest in London,
which has been lagging behind the New York market."
    * Flooding in Ivory Coast's commercial capital Abidjan
killed at least 18 people and attracted speculative buying in
both markets, traders said, though it was not known if this had
damaged any cocoa in warehouses or in transit.             .
    * Earlier weakness in the British pound, which slid to a
fresh seven-month low on the back of worries about the latest
round of Brexit negotiations, added further support to London
prices.             
    * September New York cocoa        settled up $100, or 4.1
percent, at $2,553 per tonne, with the session peak at $2,562,
also the highest since May 31. 
    
    SUGAR
    * October raw sugar        settled up 0.06 cent, or 0.49
percent, at 12.19 cents per lb, after sliding in the prior
session along with other commodities.
    * This was the contract's first rise in five sessions, with
support coming from earlier strength in the Brazilian real
       against the U.S. dollar as it diminished local returns on
dollar-traded commodities like sugar, discouraging Brazilian
producers from selling. 
    * August white sugar         settled up $3.30, or 1 percent,
at $342.10 per tonne.

    COFFEE    
    * September robusta coffee         settled up $10, or 0.59
percent, at $1,695 per tonne, recovering from Tuesday's two-year
low of $1,665.
    * September arabica coffee        settled up 0.25 cent, or
0.2 percent, at $1.1665 per lb, also rebounding above the prior
session's 2016 low.

 (Reporting by Marcy Nicholson in New York and Ana Ionova in
London; editing by Louise Heavens and Diane Craft)
  
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