December 21, 2018 / 7:41 PM / 6 months ago

SOFTS-Raw sugar drops to lowest since Oct; coffee, cocoa also fall

 (Recasts with updated prices, comments; adds NEW YORK to
dateline)
    NEW YORK/LONDON, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Raw sugar futures on ICE
fell on Friday to their lowest since early October, dragged down
by weakness in crude oil and declining equities markets, while
coffee and cocoa prices also fell.
         
    SUGAR
    * March raw sugar        settled down 0.09 cent, or 0.7
percent, at 12.34 cents per lb, after dipping to 12.23 cents,
its lowest since Oct. 4. The contract declined 2.5 percent on
the week.
    * Sugar prices were pulled down by lower oil prices and
pressured by a weaker currency in Brazil, a top producer,
dealers said. 
    * Oil prices fell to their lowest since the third quarter of
2017 and headed for weekly losses of more than 10 percent as
global oversupply kept buyers away from the market ahead of
holidays.      
   * Lower energy prices diminish the competitiveness of ethanol
in Brazil, bolstering concerns that mills may switch more
production from the biofuel back to sugar.
    * A decline in global equities markets linked to concerns
about economic growth also pressured commodity prices.
           
    * The Brazilian real erased gains from the previous session.
A weaker Brazilian real can encourage producers selling
dollar-denominated commodities, like sugar and coffee.       
            
    * March white sugar         settled down $1.80, or 0.5
percent, at $337.60 per tonne.
    * The contract declined 1.7 percent this week, its eighth
negative weekly finish in ten.    
    
    COFFEE
    * March arabica coffee        settled off 2.8 cents, or 2.7
percent, at 99.70 cents per lb, after dipping to 99.40 cents.
The contract hit a three-month low of 98.60 cents on Wednesday.
    * The contract lost 2.5 percent on the week, its seventh
consecutive weekly decline.
    * Prices continued to be pressured by expectations of a
massive Brazilian crop, dealers said.             
    * Marex Spectron raised its estimate for the global coffee
surplus in 2018-19 by 2.1 million 60-kg bags to 8.2 million
bags. The bulk of the surplus was for arabica beans.
            
    * March robusta coffee         settled down $33, or 2.2
percent, at $1,491 per tonne.
       
    COCOA  
    * March New York cocoa        settled unchanged from the
previous session at $2,271 a tonne.
    * The contract gained 1.2 percent on the week, its fourth
straight positive weekly finish. 
    * "Cocoa has been stuck in a two-sided trade for a while.
Every time we get below $2,100 we find huge demand. Every time
we get north of $2,300, the large supplies from the West African
crop overwhelm," said Shawn Hackett, president of Hackett
Financial Advisors in Boca Raton. 
    * March London cocoa         settled down 3 pounds, or 0.2
percent, at 1,682 pounds per tonne.

 (Reporting by Ayenat Mersie in New York and Nigel Hunt in
London; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)
  
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