March 14, 2019 / 6:20 PM / 7 months ago

SOFTS-Raw sugar prices rise while NY cocoa and coffee slip

 (Recasts throughout; updates prices, adds market activity,
comments, NEW YORK dateline)
    NEW YORK/LONDON, March 14 (Reuters) - Raw sugar futures on
ICE rose on Thursday, boosted by increased physical demand and
earlier oil gains, while New York cocoa and coffee prices fell.
    * May raw sugar        settled up 0.05 cent, or 0.4 percent,
at 12.41 cents per lb, after rising to a more than one-week peak
of 12.69 cents.
    * The failure to settle above recent highs of 12.46 and
12.47, which had been acting as a double-top, meant the
session's positive finish was not particularly constructive, one
U.S. trader said.  
    * Prices were supported by increased physical demand
following the decline in prices in late February and early
March, dealers said. Recent buyers have included China,
Bangladesh and Iran, they noted.
    * Crude's strength early in the session was also supportive,
dealers said, with Brent         and gasoline        touching
four-month highs before later retreating.       
    * Stronger oil prices tend to support sugar by encouraging
Brazilian cane mills to produce more ethanol rather than 
    * U.S. ethanol exporters are likely to face increased
competition in one of the few foreign markets where they have
been able to deliver large volumes in recent years, the North
and Northeast regions of Brazil, an industry association chief
    * Dealers said weekly CFTC data, to be issued on Friday, may
show a significant rise in the fund net short position, which
could be seen as a further supportive factor if prices continue
to move towards the upper end of the recent trading range.
    * May white sugar         settled down 50 cents, or 0.2
percent, at $338.80 per tonne.  
    * May London cocoa         settled up 4 pounds, or 0.2
percent, at 1,681 pounds per tonne.
    * The March contract         expires Thursday. A significant
chunk of exchange stocks could change hands on the expiry,
dealers said, with open interest, as of Wednesday, equating to
123,530 tonnes.
    * Tenderable exchange stocks total 139,690 tonnes.
    * May New York cocoa        settled down $2, or 0.1 percent,
at $2,214 per tonne.
    * Earlier, the contract touched a more than one-week high of
$2,241. The higher high, followed by a negative finish, could be
a bearish signal, one U.S. dealer said.  

    * May arabica coffee        settled down 0.5 cent, or 0.5
percent, at 97.15 cents per lb, holding above Tuesday's 13-year
low of 94.65 cents. 
    * Prices were pressured by a weaker currency in top-grower
    * The broader price decline has been the result of excess
global supplies, especially from Brazil. 
    * May robusta coffee         settled down $28, or 1.8
percent, at $1,490 per tonne.

 (Reporting by Ayenat Mersie in New York and Nigel Hunt in
London; editing by Kirsten Donovan and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)
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