Sugar eases on ample supplies; arabica firms

Raw sugar futures on ICE eased on Wednesday, pressured by expectations for a vast 2016/17 Brazilian crop, as dealers focused on a likely moderate delivery against Friday’s March white sugar expiry.

Arabica coffee futures edged up, with producer selling light due to Brazil’s Carnival holiday, while cocoa was little changed, shrugging off concerns over potential crop losses linked to a powerful Harmattan desert wind in West Africa.

Raw sugar futures drifted lower, weighed down by a firm dollar and expectations for abundant supplies from Asian harvests and the next crop in centre-south Brazil.

Dealers said a moderate level of open interest indicated a large delivery against the March white sugar expiry was unlikely, with three trading days remaining before the contract goes off the board on Friday.

“There is an expectation that one or perhaps two trade houses are preparing to take delivery of March on Friday,” said Nick Penney, a senior trader with Sucden Financial Sugar.

“The sugars should mainly come from India and Central America at current values.”

ICE March raw sugar futures traded down 0.07 cent, or 0.5 percent, at 13.32 cents per lb at 1400 GMT. May white sugar fell $2.00, or 0.5 percent, to $390.50 per tonne.

ICE March arabica was up 0.25 cent, or 0.2 percent, at $1.1500 per lb, while March robusta coffee traded up $5, or 0.4 percent, at $1,392 per tonne.

Dealers said they expected light producer selling in robustas this week because of the Tet holiday in top grower Vietnam.

May New York cocoa futures were down $11, or 0.4 percent, at $2,848 per tonne, but were above a 10-month low of $2,738 touched on Jan. 28.

“On the downside, indecision in the market could lead to prices testing the 10-day moving average at $2,817,” Sucden Financial Research said in a note.

Ghana could lose as much as 25 percent of its projected cocoa output this season as harsh winds and a lack of rain confound efforts to boost yields in the world’s second-largest producer, a government source said.

March London cocoa was down 10 pounds, or 0.5 percent, at 2,027 pounds per tonne.


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