ICE sugar sinks to 3-1/2-week low on U.S. data, arabica drops


ICE raw sugar futures sank for the third straight session on Monday, falling more than 3 percent to a 3-1/2-week low after U.S. data showed speculators held a record long position, while arabica coffee prices took their biggest tumble in two months.

New York cocoa fell to a six-week low on improving supply prospects in West Africa after much-needed rains while demand expectations remained bearish.

Raw sugar futures extended sharp losses as speculators sold positions after data released late Friday showed they had added to their net long position more than expected and for the fifth straight week.

Traders said this caused the market to view the net long position as not likely to extend much further.

“Fund longs put on in the last couple of weeks were at higher levels than today, so the funds cut their losses,” one analyst said.

ICE May raw sugar settled down 0.54 cent, or 3.6 percent, at 14.64 cents per lb, the lowest since May 10.

ICE May white sugar settled down $13.60, or 3.1 percent, at $423.20 per tonne.

Also bearish, was a newspaper report on Sunday that Brazil’s state-run fuel company Petroleo Brasileiro SA could cut gasoline and diesel prices.

Brazil is the world’s biggest sugar grower and a significant portion of its cane is processed into ethanol, which is blended into gasoline.

“If prices are dropped, then expect ethanol parity to fall even further and that would give more motivation to the sugar and ethanol industry to make sugar,” said Michael McDougall, director of commodities for Societe Generale in New York.

Another source of price pressure to both sugar and coffee prices was the weak Brazilian real against the U.S. dollar, which attracts producer and speculative selling, traders said.

May arabica coffee settled down 4.45 cent, or 3.5 percent, at $1.228 per lb, after falling to $1.223, the lowest since March 19.

Robusta coffee prices fell on spillover pressure from arabica but losses were limited as brokers focused on the impact of prolonged dry weather on the upcoming Brazilian robusta harvest.

May robusta coffee settled down $11, or 0.7 percent, at $1,474 per tonne.

New York May cocoa settled down $10, or 0.4 percent, at $2,871 per tonne, after touching a six-week low of $2,854.

London July cocoa settled down 16 pounds, or 0.8 percent, at 2,123 pounds per tonne.



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